|Girish Shetti |||Dec 29, 2016 05:18 AM EST|
(Photo : Getty Images) A Pakistani official has revealed that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will receive additional $1 billion as a soft loan from Chinese government.
The ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is already heavily funded by the mainland, is all set to receive further financing from China, a Pakistani official said on Tuesday.
"Hopefully, agreement will be signed between the two countries in this regard in China-Pakistan Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting to be held on Dec. 29 in Beijing," Ashraf Zaman, spokesman for Pakistan's National Highway Authority (NHA), told Reuters.
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The Chinese government has reportedly agreed to give Pakistan $1 billion as a soft loan for the three new road projects, which will be located on the western route of CPEC. Zaman revealed the three new roads include roads from Raikot to Thakot, Yarik to Zhob, and Basima to Khuzdar. He claimed that the deal to fund these road projects was sealed last month.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has refused to comment on the report. Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said that she had no knowledge about the upcoming meeting or the deal but noted that the economic corridor project is critical for both countries.
China lately has been on an investment overdrive in Pakistan, whom Beijing considers its closest ally in South Asia and a critical diplomatic ally to counter India's influence in the region.
Last week, the Chinese government announced that it will set up a steel factory in Pakistan's Gwadar city, which is also a part of the CPEC project. Furthermore, partial operation of the CPEC project also kicked off last month, after Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the revamped Gwadar port.
The CPEC is a multi-billion dollar initiative that spans across several Chinese and Pakistani cities via sprawling road, rail, and port projects. Through these infrastructures, CPEC could connect Pakistan's Gwadar port in the insurgency-hit Balochistan with China's Muslim-dominated Xinjiang province.
Although marred with controversies, most Pakistani politician and masses expect CPEC to change the economic fate of their country.
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