Islamabad: Senior officials from Pakistan and China on Tuesday discussed various aspects of multi-billion dollar economic corridor project that envisages the construction of a 200 km-long strategic tunnel through the rugged PoK region.
The Joint Committee on Pakistan-China economic corridor met here and discussed details of the ambitious project, including rail and road link from Kashgar in China to Gwadar in Pakistan.
According to a deal signed in July, the project includes construction of 200 kilometres long tunnel, which will link both the countries and facilitate trade and commuters.
As per the plan, special economic zones would be established along the economic corridor, and Chinese companies have shown willingness to set up industries in the zones.
The Pakistani delegation was led by Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal while the Chinese side was led by Zhang Xiaoqiang, China`s National Development and Reform Commission Vice Minister.
Pakistan`s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that Gwadar port has the potential to become a free port, adding that a special status like that of Hong Kong could be awarded to Gwadar.
The corridor was first announced during the June visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to Pakistan and an agreement in this regard was signed during the recent visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Sharif to China.
China took control of the strategic Gwadar port this year, which gave it access to the Arabian Sea and Strait of Hormuz through which a third of the world`s oil is transported.
According to experts, the corridor will speed up development in Xinjiang, which has seen frequent unrest, and also open up a new route for China`s energy imports from West Asia.
The corridor will pass through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), which borders Xinjiang-Uygur autonomous region of China and provides the only feasible transport link between the two countries.