|Charissa Echavez |||May 14, 2017 12:13 AM EDT|
(Photo : Getty Images) Pakistan Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz (2nd L) talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (2nd R) during a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs April 27, 2016 in Beijing, China.
Pakistan and China have signed new deals worth about half a billion dollars on Saturday, ahead of Beijing's international forum on its "Silk Road" initiative.
The recent understanding will add to the $57 billion China already committed for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is part of China's Belt and Road initiative, or One Belt, One Road.
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"China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a core component of your visionary initiative of the 'One Belt-One Road," Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said during his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of China on Saturday.
The $492.95 million worth of memorandums of understanding signed by both countries will cover an airport in the southwestern town of Gwada, which has a deep-water port that could provide an outlet to the Arabian Sea from the far western region of Xinjiang; development of the Havelian Dry Port in Pakistan; and economic and technical cooperation for the East Bay Expressway that will connect Gwadar to Pakistan's existing highway system.
Xi also called for a smooth completion on the projects in Pakistan including the Gwadar Port and special economic and industrial parks along the corridor. Although some countries have expressed concerns of the debt the Chinese funding could create, Pakistan told Reuters that it remains a positive view.
Meanwhile, Pakistan is one of the strong supporters of China's One Belt One Road initiative, particularly because many of the projects include power plants that will help Islamabad's decade-long energy shortage crisis.
The Beijing summit, which aims to promote Beijing's ambition to expand trade links, will be attended by at least 29 leaders from different countries. They are expected to hold a series of sessions on Sunday.
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