Xinjiang, the starting point of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), can play an important role in development of Pakistan under the mega initiative, Yuan Jianmin said in an interview.
Yuan is Counselor of the People’s Govt of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Vice President of China Council For International Investment Promotion.
‘In the past 10 years, CPEC has made great achievements; we have laid a good foundation in infrastructure construction. It also solved the employment problem of a large number of Pakistani youth. CPEC is a long-term strategy and a cross-regional and cross-country project. We should be patient and persistent to implement it, which will not only benefit the two countries, but also the rest of the world’, Yuan said.
We have already started cooperation in many fields, such as Xinjiang Normal University and NUML University, Islamabad have established inter-university friendly relationship. We have also opened faculties where students study Urdu in Xinjiang Normal University. Karamay and Gwadar, Kashgar and Hunza have become sister cities. Pakistani agricultural technicians have already been trained in China. In Tashkurgan, we have established Sino-Pak border trade zone where Pakistanis can purchase duty-free goods up to RMB 8,000, he said. Presently, a valid visa is required, but in future, there can be more solutions to enhance trade and tourism between the border areas. In Xinjiang, we have established special economic zones and comprehensive bonded zones for development of the CPEC. We can exchange our expertise for development of SEZs in Pakistan, Yuan said.
Xinjiang province is also a key point in the development of CPEC in future. Officials of Xinjiang are working hard to implement the CPEC under guidelines of the central government. he said.
CPEC enhanced communication and trade between the border regions of China and Pakistan. In the past, we used the Karakoram Highway. Now we have built the airport in Tashkurgan. In future, it is not ruled out that there will be China-Pakistan Air Corridor. There are several areas in which Xinjiang can support Pakistan, as it is the link between the two countries, including economy, culture, agriculture and medical fields, he added.
Pakistan can export a lot of products to Xinjiang for onward supply to other provinces of China. The volume of import and export trade on the border between China and Pakistan will definitely grow.
The road is long, but we can expect that this road will bring the development of China and Pakistan, especially Xinjiang and the GB region of Pakistan, to a more brilliant future, Yuan concluded.