Scope of CPEC to be enhanced in 2nd phase: Pak official

Islamabad, Apr 09:

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is at the cusp of launching its second phase to add more sectors like agriculture and tourism, a senior Pakistani official has said, rejecting reports that the multi-billion dollar project is slowing down due to the coronavirus outbreak.

China has committed to invest over USD 60 billion in Pakistan as part of the CPEC under which it planned to build a number of special economic zones.

Asim Saleem Bajwa, chairman CPEC Authority, in a tweet on Wednesday rejected reports about the adverse impact of the coronavirus on CPEC projects.

“Rumours about the CPEC slowing down totally baseless. Misdirected propaganda articles keep appearing,” said Bajwa, who is a former army lieutenant general.

He said that in fact the second phase of the CPEC being launched to add more sectors which would be developed in Pakistan.

“Reality;#CPEC making steady progress & is at the cusp of launching phase 2 with enhanced scope, involving Chinese and Pakistani private sectors,” he said.

Bajwa further said that agriculture and food security, science and technology and tourism would be additional focus areas in the second phase of the project.

Planning Minister Asad Umar also said on February 26 said that new projects would be added in the second phase.

The CPEC was launched in 2015 when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan and so far it focused on energy and infrastructure projects.

The CPEC connecting China”s Xinjiang with Pakistan”s Gwadar port is regarded as the flagship project of the multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which is aimed at furthering China”s global influence with infrastructure projects funded by Chinese investments all over the world.

India has objected to the CPEC as it is being laid through Pakistan Administrated Kashmir. PTI

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