China-Pakistan "Economic Corridor" and China to make Kashgar an important trade and tourism hub China-Pakistan "Economic Corridor" and China to make Kashgar an important trade and tourism hub

China-Pakistan "Economic Corridor" and China to make Kashgar an important trade and tourism hub

China-Pakistan "Economic Corridor" and China to make Kashgar an important trade and tourism hub
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The construction of the "China-Pakistan Economic Corridor" stretching from Kashgar to the port of Gwadar in Pakistan is an important project of China's "One Belt One Road" strategic plan for more than ten years.

China has been attracting international attention by developing the Gwadar port in Pakistan, opening new sea trade routes, selling goods to Middle East, African and European countries, expanding its economic influence in these regions and building military bases in key strategic locations to compete with the United States.

The failure of the Belt and Road project, known as China's "debt trap", in Pakistan, local people's protests against the construction of Gwadar port, terrorist attacks on Chinese workers, and most importantly, the decline of China's economy after the Covid epidemic, the decline of Chinese investment, etc. They are considered as the reason behind the construction of Pakistan Economic Corridor. However, Pakistan is hoping to revive the project.

According to the news of June 2nd in Singapore-based Straits Times, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will visit China on June 4th and sign a multi-billion dollar agreement with China to continue the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

"Al-Jazeera" announced on June 3 that Pakistan's need for China is increasing. "Pakistan is currently struggling with inflation and debt crisis, and needs tens of billions of dollars in economic projects to get out of the economic crisis. It is said that it is the ``China-Pakistan Economic Corridor'' which started in 2015 and is planned to invest 62 billion dollars.

According to the news broadcast by "China Global Television Network" (CGTN) on June 5, Shehbaz Sharif, in his speech at the "China-Pakistan Business Forum" held in Shenzhen on the same day, which gathered Chinese and Pakistani entrepreneurs, said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and emphasized that it would bring great benefits to Pakistan, praised the current development of Gwadar Port in Pakistan, and called on Chinese entrepreneurs to invest heavily in Pakistan.

Shehbaz Sharif met Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang this time and discussed continuing the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, strengthening security and national defense, and continuing cooperation with China in the fields of energy, science and technology, and education.

Dr. Kaiser Mijit, a doctor of economic sciences who lives in the United States, said about the Pakistani Prime Minister's visit to China: "Actually, Pakistan has now become a dependent country of China."

"Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK)" reported on June 6 that Shehbaz Sharif's 5-day visit to China is mainly aimed at restarting the construction of the 2nd phase of the "China-Pakistan Economic Corridor". This project is an infrastructure project based on Gwadar port and railway in Pakistan, and China has promised to invest 60 billion dollars in this project; It is planned to invest 46 billion dollars in the construction of the railway from Kashgar to the port of Gwadar in Pakistan. However, China, which is concerned about political instability and security issues in Pakistan, is reluctant to continue investing in this project. The report said: "In recent years, there have been many terrorist attacks targeting Chinese citizens in Pakistan. The Pakistani side said that these attacks were carried out by Islamic terrorists and separatists who hate China.

In his speech at the China-Pakistan Business Forum, Shahbaz Sharif said that he will protect Chinese citizens in Pakistan with all his might and will not allow such attacks to happen again.

Henryk Szadziewski, research director of the Uyghur Human Rights Foundation in the United States, spoke about the difficulties and obstacles facing the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. China suffered a loss to its economy. On the Chinese side, China is no longer as enthusiastic about the ``China-Pakistan Economic Corridor'' as it used to be. On the Pakistani side, they are in financial trouble. Again, few countries partner with Pakistan because of the risks involved in investing in Pakistan. Pakistan's political situation is unstable, and violence continues to occur in Balochistan. While China is in a difficult situation, it is unwilling to invest in such a large project.

The report published by "Al Jazeera Channel" network on June 3 shows the hidden problems and future challenges behind the "China-Pakistan Economic Corridor" and says: "Critics say that the 'One Belt One Road' project is a tool to expand China's geo-political influence. It has plunged poor countries like Pakistan into debt. In Pakistan, despite some achievements in the construction of Gwadar port and energy, transport and industrial development, the development of the "China-Pakistan Economic Corridor" has not been successful or even stopped due to frequent political, economic and security crises in Pakistan. Pakistan, which has recently run out of money, especially the current government, wants to push this project forward again; Gwadar Port is the golden crown of this project. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which aims to connect the 2,000-kilometer road between Kashgar city in western China and Gwadar port, was supposed to boost Pakistan's economic productivity and economic growth, but these have not yet been realized. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is expected to create 2 million jobs and business opportunities in Pakistan, but according to the Pakistani government, only 250,000 jobs have been created.

According to the report, Pakistan's external debt has worsened. When Nawaz Sharif, the brother of the current Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, became the Prime Minister of Pakistan in 2013, Pakistan was in debt of nearly 60 billion dollars, but today it is in debt of 124 billion dollars, including 30 billion dollars owed to China. Of that, $20 billion in debt is overdue. Since 2018, dozens of Chinese workers have been killed in various parts of Pakistan. The Balochistan Armed Forces announced that they would steal resources from the region under the pretext of China's investment and construction of the Gwadar Port, targeting Chinese workers. The most important factor preventing China from continuing to invest is Pakistan's instability. Moreover, since the Pakistani government completely replaced the official responsible for the "China-Pakistan Economic Corridor", China could not be more reassured.

Dr. Kaiser Mijit said whether the second phase of the "China-Pakistan Economic Corridor" will continue depends on China's long-term plans and changes in the international situation.

China's opening of Kashgar as an important business and tourism area, including the establishment of a free trade zone in Kashgar, is seen as related to the re-opening and revitalization of the "China-Pakistan Economic Corridor". Dr. Kaiser Mijit said that this is partly true, and China has made Kashgar a trade-tourism center to hide its interests in Afghanistan and Central Asian countries, as well as its crimes in the Uyghur region.

Henrik Shajivskyi said that China has mostly taken care of the domestic situation in making Kashgar a business and tourism center: "There has been a lot of talk about investing in Kashgar, building a free trade zone and a transportation center there; This has China's thoughts, because the Uyghurs are concentrated in the south, and China wants to control those areas. China wants to make Kashmir a second Schengen, but this has not yet happened. I don't think Chinese investors are particularly interested in Kashmir. In the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, there are two situations: the construction plan is set by the government, but it is not clear how profitable the investment will be. Government promises often exceed reality. I think that China wants to invest in this project, on the one hand, to get natural resources, and on the other hand, to promote foreign trade. But whenever government officials talk about a ``China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,'' we should always be skeptical."

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