He Lifeng arrives in Islamabad to mark a decade of CPEC

He Lifeng arrives in Islamabad to mark a decade of CPEC

He Lifeng arrived in Islamabad on Sunday for a three-day visit during which he will attend a ceremony commemorating 10 years of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

At the airport, Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal and Minister for the Interior Rana Sanaullah greeted the visiting dignitary.

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According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office (FO) earlier on Saturday, the Chinese vice premier will be in Pakistan from July 30 (today) to August 1 (Tuesday) at the invitation of the federal government to serve as the chief guest at a ceremony commemorating a decade of CPEC.

During the visit, Lifeng would also meet with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and President Dr. Arif Alvi, according to the statement.

The Foreign Office had acknowledged Lifeng’s “prominent role” in China’s international economic relations and implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, CPEC being a flagship project.

As chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission between 2017 and 2023, he was “instrumental in the planning and execution of multiple CPEC projects in Pakistan,” according to the FO.

It had added that his visit was part of regular high-level exchanges and dialogue between Pakistan and China and reflected the importance both countries attach to further strengthening their “all-weather strategic cooperative partnership, enhance economic and financial cooperation, advance high-quality development of CPEC, and explore new avenues for strengthening trade and investment ties”.

The district magistrate of Islamabad issued a notice stating that all public and private schools, universities and colleges, private companies, markets and shops, and commercial institutions would be closed on July 31 (Monday) and August 1 (Tuesday).

What exactly is CPEC?
Since 2013, CPEC is a collection of infrastructure and other initiatives being built throughout Pakistan. With the construction of modern transport networks, numerous energy projects, and special economic zones, this massive initiative aims to rapidly enhance Pakistan’s required infrastructure and strengthen its economy.

The main agreement for the CPEC projects was signed in 2013, and the corresponding term sheets were signed during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan in 2015.

In November of 2016, CPEC became partially operational when Chinese cargo was transported by land to the port of Gwadar for further maritime shipment to Africa and West Asia.

China has so far invested $25,4 billion directly in various transport, energy, and infrastructure projects in Islamabad as part of the Belt and Road Initiative’s flagship connectivity and investment corridor project.

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