China, Pakistan discuss realignment of Karakoram Highway, speed up CPEC projects

China and Pakistan on Tuesday discussed plans for the realignment of the strategic Karakoram Highway, acceleration of the CPEC projects, upgradation of the Karachi-Peshawar railway project, and improvement of the Gwadar Port managed by a Chinese firm.
On the second day of his four-day visit, Pakistan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar held talks with Liu Jianchao, Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC) and discussed accelerating the projects that are part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) among other issues, Pakistan’s official media reported in Islamabad.
Dar is here to take part in the fifth Strategic Dialogue with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday. The two leaders will comprehensively review bilateral relations, including economic and trade cooperation; high-level exchanges and visits; upgradation of the CPEC, future connectivity initiatives, and the geopolitical situation.
Ahead of that meeting, Dar and Liu reaffirmed the importance of the All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership between Pakistan and China and to further reinforce mutually beneficial collaboration, the state-run news agency, the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) said.
The two leaders discussed plans to accelerate projects under the USD 60 billion CPEC, including ML-I upgradation, Gwadar Port, and realignment of the Karakoram Highway.
The 1,300 km highway laid through the Khunjerab mountainous pass extends from Hasan Abdal near Pakistan’s capital Islamabad to Kashgar in China’s Xinjiang region. The road, called KKH, was inaugurated in 1978 after nearly 20 years of construction.
Pakistan has sought the realignment of the KKH, expected to play a significant part in the CPEC, connecting Gwadar port and China’s Xinjiang province.
India has already protested the CPEC construction as it is being laid through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
The two ministers also discussed accelerating all projects under CPEC, which were delayed due to the prevailing political, and economic crisis in the country. The two countries are also discussing the upgradation of the USD eight billion ML-I railway line connecting Karachi and Peshawar through Lahore.
They also discussed the recurring attacks on the Chinese personnel working in the CPEC projects by militant groups in Pakistan.
In March this year, five Chinese and one Pakistani national were killed in a terrorist attack on their vehicle of the Dasu Hydropower Project undertaken by a Chinese company in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
Dar expressed condolences and shock over Chinese casualties in the attack, and reiterated Pakistan’s firm resolve to counter terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and to bring perpetrators of the attack to justice.
He underlined the measures taken by Pakistan to ensure enhanced security of Chinese projects, personnel, and institutions in Pakistan, the APP said.

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