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Khunjerab Pass to be ‘upgraded’ to all-weather border​

PM Kakar concludes five-day China visit with offering Friday prayer in Urumqi

October 21, 2023

The Khunjerab Pass, a major land trade route between Pakistan and China, would be converted into an all-weather border, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar said at an event as part of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on Friday.
Kakar concluded his five-day visit to China, visiting the Xinjiang province in the last leg of the tour.

During the visit, he held fruitful talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Qiang, besides Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leaders from Kenya and Sri Lanka.
Khunjerab Pass, the highest paved international border at more than 15,000 feet above sea level, is closed during winter months because of harsh weather.

The pass connects Gilgit-Baltistan with China's Xinjiang region. It was reopened in April 2023 following closure because of the Covid outbreak in 2020.

“As per the consensus reached in Beijing during my visit, our land border at Khunjerab-Sost will be converted into an all-weather model,” Kakar said.

He added that they would like to upgrade customs and other logistic services to facilitate trade and movement of people.

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar interacts with the students of Xinjiang University on 20 October, 2023: PHOTO: PID

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar interacts with the students of Xinjiang University on 20 October, 2023: PHOTO: PID

In Urumqi, the largest city of Xinjiang, Kakar offered Friday prayer at the main mosque in the city, and addressed a gathering of students and scholars.

The prime minister emphasised the need for deepening trade, connectivity, and cultural ties between Xinjiang and neighbouring regions of Pakistan.

He underscored the importance of Xinjiang as the starting point of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship project under China's Belt and Road Initiative, with more than $65 billion pledged for road, rail, and other infrastructure developments in the South Asian nation.

The prime minister recalled that his recent meetings with the Chinese leadership in Beijing highlighted that both the countries were trusted partners and reliable friends. He commended Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps’ (XPCC) role in peace and development of Xinjiang.

Highlighting the strong institutional linkages between Xinjiang and Pakistan, the prime minister invited the XPCC to explore business and investment opportunities in Pakistan’s industrial development, tourism, agriculture and minerals and mining sectors.

XPCC Deputy Party Secretary Li Yifei said that the government of Xinjiang region looked forward to working with Pakistan to facilitate trade, connectivity, and people-to-people ties via Khunjerab-Sost border crossing

Belt and Road cooperation will be more inclusive and innovative​

by The Frontier Post


Binod Singh Ajatshatru

In his speech at the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on Wednesday, President Xi Jinping emphasized that humankind is a community with a shared future and China can only do well when the world is doing well.
One of the major announcements President Xi made during the speech was that another 80 billion yuan ($10.93 billion) will be injected into the Silk Road Fund, saying that the Belt and Road Initiative will focus not just on infrastructure and trade, but also on promoting civilizational dialogue among Belt and Road countries. He said China is willing to share its prosperity with its neighbors and the rest of the world.

The new goals of the Belt and Road Initiative are open, green, and clean development. Xi stressed that further deepening cooperation is the only way to go forward. Clean, green development will be the new mantra of the initiative in the next decade, he said, adding that the Belt and Road is a global development initiative with sustainable development for all as its ultimate goal.

The main strength of the initiative is the involvement of more than 150 countries and 30 international organizations, which makes it one of the largest development initiatives in history. Earlier, to mark the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, President Xi announced some major plans to further expand the scope of the initiative.

The third Belt and Road Forum, which concluded on Wednesday, was attended by the representatives of many countries and global organizations, addressing whom, Xi said the international community is welcome to collectively find solutions to the major problems, including climate change, facing the world today. While summarizing the experiences of the 10 years of the initiative, Xi said China is open to working with international organizations and learn from their experiences, not least because it adds value to the Belt and Road projects.

Emphasizing that the initiative’s high-quality development will help modernize the countries of the Global South, he said the initiative is set to make greater contributions to global growth.

Mutual learning and mutual benefit are the guiding principles of the initiative’s policy, and China believes that the Belt and Road Initiative complements the other developmental plans in Asia, Africa and Europe. The construction of railways, including high-speed railways, in some countries has already boosted their economic development. And China’s funding and technologies have accelerated the development programs of many developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

By building and improving infrastructure, China intends to further facilitate the smooth movement of goods and people in Asian, European and African countries. Underlining the importance of cultural exchanges among the Belt and Road countries, President Xi said the initiative will promote multilateralism and bridge the development gap between the Global North and the Global South.
The initiative will promote harmony among countries by using development as a major foreign policy tool, he said. Belt and Road projects are diverse and comprehensive, and facilitate the social and cultural development of the countries involved, promote mutual understanding among them, and create new opportunities for holding regular dialogue on the issues plaguing the world.

The initiative meets the developmental needs of the Belt and Road countries without imposing political or ideological conditions. Similarly, in a “volatile world, we (all nations) can jointly address various risks and challenges facing humanity today”, Xi said. No wonder many countries have expressed confidence in the Belt and Road Initiative’s ability to use innovative ideas to meet the different demands of the countries involved.

On the other hand, Russia has proposed that an international logistics corridor (Northern Sea Route) be built, a proposal that is still being discussed by the Belt and Road countries and might be finalized in the near future. The North Sea trade route being developed by Russia is another project the international community is looking forward to.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that a mechanism for cooperation on logistics with BRICS member states should be established where all Belt and Road economies can discuss ideas such as developing more international trade corridors. Countries of the Global South have realized that without infrastructure, real development cannot be achieved.

Since supplying drinking water, building sanitation facilities and generating and supplying electricity to building and maintaining schools and hospitals, and providing internet services for the people cannot be done alone by many less-developed countries, the Silk Road Fund, the BRICS New Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank should release funds to complete such development tasks.

Yet the availability of funds alone cannot guarantee good infrastructure. So Belt and Road countries should use the know-how and experiences of countries such as China to achieve their respective development goals.

The Belt and Road projects can build a bright future only if they are properly implemented. Indeed, the next decade will help the countries of the Global South to catch up with the developed world, by improving their infrastructure and creating equal opportunities for all to achieve common prosperity.

However, most of the challenges facing the initiative in the last decade are yet to be overcome. So Belt and Road countries should hold regular dialogue, and diversify their development projects to realize that goal.

But since building a new logistics hub or other major infrastructure facilities involves the movement and displacement of the local people, the governments need to be very careful while planning such projects. Providing transit facilities for goods and making available goods for all are considered a good idea only when minimum displacement takes place.

Also, the safety of Belt and Road projects in some countries has become a major concern for China and the host countries. This problem must be addressed by establishing cooperation mechanisms with the host and other Belt and Road countries. And as the safety of the people working on Belt and Road projects is of prime importance, there is a need, perhaps, to establish a Belt and Road project security coordination network to ensure the projects are not sabotaged by some individuals or organizations.

Besides, economic interdependence holds the key to the stability and peaceful growth of the global economy in the next decade. And attempts by some economies to “decouple” from other economies or disrupt the industry and supply chains and divide the developing countries reflect Cold War mentality that has no takers today. Geopolitical rivalry could prevent developing countries from realizing economic development at the pace and scale they desire.

China has chosen to travel together with other countries to achieve common prosperity. If the development has a human face then 10 years is a small period of time to judge it. Nevertheless, China has sown the seeds and the plants have grown, raising hopes of building an equitable and better world.
The China Daily
Islamabad and Beijing ink over 20 agreements, covering areas from currency swapping to building a research station on the moon’s south pole.

Although both sides vowed to cement ties in various fields, especially for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), President Xi Jinping sought guarantees from Islamabad regarding security of Chinese personnel working in Pakistan.

The agreements signed cover round-the-year functioning of the Khunjerab border crossing, coordination on Afghan issue, close trust and coordination between their armed forces, peace talks between Palestine and Israel, currency swapping, partnership on building a research station on moon’s south pole, infrastructure, mining, industry, green and low-carbon development, health, digital economy, development cooperation and export of agricultural products to China.

According to a joint statement issued at the conclusion of PM Kakar’s visit, the two sides reaffirmed support for each other on issues pertaining to their respective core interests.

The Pakistani side reaffirmed its commitment to the one-China Principle and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory, and Pakistan firmly supports Beijing’s efforts to achieve national reunification, and opposes any form of “Taiwan independence”.

Lunar programme

Chinese Premier Li Qiang and PM Kakar also witnessed the signing of an initial cooperation agreement on the moon programme in Beijing on Wednesday.

The China National Space Administration on Friday said cooperation on building the research station would cover areas such as engineering and operational aspects of the Chinese lunar base programme.

Recognising the significance of Gwadar Port as an important node in cross-regional connectivity, the two sides agreed to speed up development of the port and its auxiliary projects. Both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in agriculture, industrial sector and mining, geological survey, joint research on geology and minerals, training of talent, and planning of mining industrial parks.

Under the $65 billion CPEC, both sides decided to keep the Khunjerab border open throughout the year. The border remains closed due to harsh weather in winter.

The two sides reviewed with satisfaction the progress on the desalination plant, the New Gwadar International Airport, the Pak-China Friendship Hospital and other projects. Both sides reiterated their resolve to make Gwadar a high-quality port, a regional trade hub and a connectivity node.

The Chinese side expressed willingness to support Pakistan in expanding exports to China. They signed protocols on the export of heated beef, dried chilli, fresh cherries and dairy products from Pakistan to China.

The two sides expressed satisfaction with cooperation on Currency Swap Agreement and Renminbi settlement, and agreed to strengthen financial and banking cooperation.

Security of Chinese

China is a major ally and investor in Pakistan but both separatist and militants have attacked Chinese projects over recent years, killing Chinese personnel.

China is willing to strengthen cooperation and promote solidarity with Pakistan in a multiple fields but has urged it to guarantee the safety of Chinese organisations and personnel working there, the Chinese foreign ministry said.

“We hope the Pakistani side will guarantee the safety of Chinese institutions and personnel in Pakistan,” the ministry cited President Xi as telling caretaker PM Kakar during a meeting on Thursday.

Symposium on BRI Bio-health Agriculture held in Northwest China​

By Wu Siya | China Economic Net
Nov 14, 2023

XIANYANG,–The 5th International Symposium on the Belt and Road Bio-health Agriculture and China-SCO National Bio-Health Agriculture Overseas Science and Technology Demonstration Park Construction Forum was held at Northwest A&F University (NWAFU), China and online from Nov. 12 to Nov. 16.

Symposium on BRI Bio-health Agriculture held in Northwest China

Co-organizers include the Silkroad (Yangling) Biohealth Agricultural Industry Alliance (SBHAIA), The Sino-Pak Research Center for Agro-Biological Resources, The Sino-Pak Agricultural Cooperation and Exchange Center, Pakistan Branch of China Machinery Industry Engineering Group Co., Ltd, Sichuan Litong Food Co.,Ltd ( Puji Holdings Group), The University of Haripur, The University of Lahore, Sindh Agriculture University, Bahauddin Zakariya University, etc.

Professor Muhammad Ashraf, Fellow of the Pakistan Academy of Science of Engineering (CAE) and Fellow of the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), served as the conference consultant.

Two other famous Pakistani scholars, Professor Shafiq Ur Rehman, President of Haripur University, and Professor Fateh Muhammad Marri, President of Sindh Agricultural University, also addressed the conference.

At the symposium, a total of 18 keynote reports will be delivered on different field including comprehensive utilization of agricultural, forestry and aquatic wastes, healthy animal breeding and environmental protection, healthy grassland
and ecological restoration, production of bio-health agricultural products and agricultural environment management.

“Biohealth Agriculture” (BHA) was put forward by Professor Zhang Lixin, NWAFU in 2017 at the first International Symposium on the Belt and Road Bio-health. It refers to the use of biological means for safe and high-quality agricultural production involving the sustainability of soil, plant, animal, human and ecosystem health, reducing or excluding external agricultural inputs, especially pesticides and synthetic fertilizers or other hazardous/toxic chemicals.

During the five-day period, a sub-forum on healthy aquaculture and waste resource utilization will also be held, and an academic report on the application of modern biotechnology will be released.

Participants are going to visit the Xi'an ground breeding base of the Shaanxi Provincial Aerospace Breeding Engineering Technology Research Center, local biological health vegetable bases, and the Yangling Demonstration Zone Agricultural Science and Technology Industrial Park, and hold exchange meetings with local enterprises.

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