Key meeting on CPEC likely next week in Islamabad

Islamabad, Sep 14 (PTI):
A key meeting between Pakistani and Chinese officials on the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is expected to be held in Islamabad next week, after a delay of over a year.
The 10th session of the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) for the CPEC was to be held in 2020, but was postponed due to the coronavirus.
It was later scheduled to take place in July this year, but was called off by Beijing after a massive blast on a bus in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province on July 14 killed nine Chinese nationals among 13 others. The Chinese nationals were helping Pakistan build a dam, which is part of the USD 60 billion CPEC.
Khalid Mansoor, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on CPEC, told media that the JCC meeting is likely to be held either on September 23 or 24.
Planning Minister Asad Umar and China’s National Development and Reforms Commission (NDRC) vice chairman Ning Jizhe will lead their respective sides in the meeting, Mansoor said, addressing his maiden press conference after taking over the charge of the CPEC Authority. Mansoor said the JCC meeting would accord approval of new projects already discussed and cleared at the joint working group level. He said projects in agriculture, science and technology, energy and infrastructure will come up for discussion during the JCC meeting.
Talking about the security issue, he said additional security measures have been put in place in the wake of the recent attack targeting the Chinese.
According to a Dawn report on Tuesday, the JCC is expected to discuss plans for industrial cooperation between Pakistan and China. Prior to the JCC, the Joint Working Groups’ meeting on industrial cooperation will also take place.
There are nine joint working groups under CPEC and seven groups have already met, the report said. The last JCC meeting was held in November 2019. When the JCC was formed in 2015, its meetings used to held after every six months.
The CPEC was launched in 2015 when Chinese president Xi Jinping visited Pakistan. Xi announced to invest USD 46 billion in various projects of development. Later, reportedly the investment was enhanced first to USD 55 billion and later to USD 62 billion in 2017.
As the mode of investment is not clearly revealed, it is not sure how much capital has so far been invested by China in various projects.

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