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Planning for China-Pakistan economic corridor to be revealed

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Planning for China-Pakistan economic corridor to be revealed

gwadhar_port_pak_china
gwadhar_port_pak_china
Photo: AFP/Amir Qureshi

The plan for the Chinese economic corridor to the port of Gwadar on Pakistan’s Indian Ocean coast will be revealed today. Negotiations concluded in November.

The corridor is of major strategic importance to China as an alternative to the Malacca Strait and the contentious South China Sea as a route for oil and other imports into China. For Pakistan, it is a goldmine as China pours in $60 billion of investment into the impoverished country’s infrastructure.

Today’s big reveal comes amid growing concern that Pakistan got a bad deal in negotiations. 91% of profits from Gwadar will go to China for 40 years before ownership reverts to Pakistan. The Pakistani Ministry of Planning’s announcement that three big CPEC road projects were abruptly cancelled by Beijing drew hasty denials from Pakistani Foreign Office officials last Thursday.

It is likely the CPEC plans will reveal the Chinese skewed the agreements to protect its investments in a country which has a long history of political instability. Any grassroots resentment this may cause will ultimately be limited given the Pakistani military—the real political power in the country—supports CPEC.

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