Back in the ’60s and ’70s, Pakistan and China cooperated to build the Karakoram Highway, or the “Friendship Road”, which is the world’s highest highway, linking Pakistan with the Chinese mainland, traversing the mountains of the Hindukush. Now, Pakistan and China have announced a joint venture worth $327M dollars that will significantly upgrade the highway and improve its capacity to act as a conduit for trade between the two countries.
Over the last many years, one of the key reasons why economists and policy planners have been bullish about Pakistan’s long term economic and strategic prospects is because of the country’s close cooperation with China. The Gwadar port is seen as a very important resource that Pakistan and China can both leverage for their mutual benefit. China has already made serious investments in securing mineral reserves, iron ore, oil and gas in Africa, and a port in the warm waters of the Arabian sea, linked to the Chinese mainland through rail and highway, is of tremendous value to the PRC as it continues its rapid development.
The News reports:
Pak, China sign loan agreement to finance up-gradation of Karakoram Highway
ISLAMABAD: The Export Import Bank of China has signed a loan agreement with Pakistan for the up-gradation of Karakoram Highway project.
Under the agreement China will provide a credit of $ 327 million for the expansion of the KKH project.
The qualitative up-gradation of Pakistan-China Road Linkage will further facilitate and enhance tourism and trade between the two friendly neighbouring countries.
The expansion project is being executed jointly by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) and Pakistan’s National Highway Authority (NHA).
The agreement was signed by the Ambassador of Pakistan to China Salman Bashir and Xin Bin, Deputy General Manager Commercial of Loan Project.