Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari arrives in Beijing today for a two-day diplomatic trip to meet his Chinese counterpart
Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari arrives in Beijing today for a two-day diplomatic trip to meet his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
The trip follows Monday’s phone conversations between Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. The two discussed the security of Chinese citizens in Pakistan and fast-tracking China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) infrastructure projects worth $60 billion.
In February, former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Beijing to request a $10 billion loan and lobby for increased cooperation along CPEC. Sharif restructured CPEC’s governance on Wednesday amid complaints of project slowdowns and local resistance in Kashmir and Baluchistan. On Monday, Pakistani police arrested a woman on suspicion of planning a suicide attack on a Chinese motorcade linked to CPEC infrastructure projects.
Expect an increased security presence around Chinese nationals and CPEC-linked projects for the foreseeable future as Pakistan tries to prevent further delays. Current and future governments will likely focus on improving Pakistan’s surveillance and counterterrorism capabilities to better protect its infrastructure projects and ensure continued Chinese investment. Violent and non-violent resistance to CPEC will likely continue in the long term due to resentment of Chinese control over Pakistani land and China’s interference in Pakistan’s politics.
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