Chinese Prez Xi set to sign USD 46 bn CPEC deal on Pak visit
Islamabad: Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived here today on his first visit to Pakistan where he is expected to sign a deal for an economic corridor worth USD 46 billion and other agreements to bolster their all-weather strategic ties.
The Chinese president and his wife Peng Liyuan were accorded a red-carpet welcome when they landed at the Noor Khan airbase in Rawalpindi. They were received by Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, army chief Gen Raheel Sharif and members of the cabinet.
Xi’s aircraft was escorted by JF-17 Thunder jets which Pakistan built with the help of China.
Tight security measures have been enforced in the capital while security personnel have been deployed on all vital city roads during Xi’s visit.
At the airbase, a 21-gun salute and guard of honour was presented to the Chinese president. A cultural show also entertained Xi and his wife on their arrival.
Xi was introduced to the cabinet ministers while he in return introduced counterpart Hussain and premier Sharif to his high-level delegation comprising businessmen and senior government officials.
Banners reading “Pakistan-China Friendship Zindabad”, portraits of the Chinese and Pakistani presidents and flags of the two countries waved across Constitution Avenue welcoming Xi to Islamabad.
After talks, the two countries are set to sign the agreement for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that will link China’s underdeveloped far-western region to Pakistan’s Gwadar deep-sea port on the Arabian Sea via PoK through a massive and complex network of roads, railways, business zones, energy schemes and pipelines.
Pakistani Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal said that the the total cost of the CPEC is USD 46 billion.
“It is not a single project but includes several projects related to energy generation, infrastructure development and business areas,” he said.
The initial focus is on electricity and some of the early harvest projects would be ready in three years and provide about 10,400 MWs of electricity.
Xi will meet Hussain who will host a lunch in his honour nd will also confer Pakistan’s highest civilian award – Nishan-e-Pakistan’ – on the Chinese president.