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China, Pakistan Could Include Afghanistan in $57b Economic Corridor

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi (C), Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani (L) and Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif shake hands at the end of a joint press conference and after the First China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue in Beijing on Dec 26.China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi (C), Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani (L) and Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif shake hands at the end of a joint press conference and after the First China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue in Beijing on Dec 26.

China and Pakistan will look at extending their $57 billion (42.63 billion pounds) China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday, part of China’s ambitious Belt and Road plan linking China with Asia, Europe and beyond.

China has tried to position itself as a helpful party to promote talks between Pakistan and Afghanistan, both uneasy neighbors ever since Pakistan’s independence in 1947, Reuters reported.

Speaking after the first trilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Wang said China hoped the economic corridor could benefit the whole region and act as an impetus for development.

 “So China and Pakistan are willing to look at Afghanistan, on the basis of win-win, mutually beneficial principles, using an appropriate means to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan,” he added. Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said his country and China were “iron brothers”, but did not directly mention the prospect of Afghanistan joining the corridor.

“The successful implementation of CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) projects will serve as a model for enhancing connectivity and cooperation through similar projects with neighboring countries, including Afghanistan, Iran and with central and west Asia,” he said.

 

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