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BRI to bring China's Xinjiang, Pakistan together for shared development, prosperity -- experts

   Xinhua   09:25, May 29, 2024

ISLAMABAD, May 28 (Xinhua) -- The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will bring China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Pakistan together for joint development and prosperity under the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, experts have said.

At a recent event themed "Dynamics of Xinjiang in Pakistani Perspective," Shi Yuanqiang, minister of the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, said that Xinjiang, as an autonomous region bordering Pakistan and a hub of Belt and Road cooperation, can play a crucial role in developing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and fostering people-to-people exchanges between the two nations.

Launched in 2013, the CPEC, a flagship project of the China-proposed BRI, links Pakistan's southwest Gwadar port with the city of Kashgar in Xinjiang, highlighting energy, transport, and industrial cooperation.

Shi said that Xinjiang has transformed from a region once threatened by extremism, terrorism and ethnic separatist activities to one currently undergoing multifaceted development, including in agriculture and tourism.

"Xinjiang now has no off-season for tourism. In 2023, it received over 265 million tourists from both at home and abroad," said Shi, adding that Xinjiang's annual cotton production exceeded 5 million tons, accounting for 91 percent of China's total.

Senior analyst and author Sultan Mehmood Hali said that the China-Pakistan relationship is deep-rooted, and the two countries' enduring friendship has contributed to peace and stability in the region and the world at large.

"Xinjiang holds special significance in this relationship and serves as a gateway for the two countries with historical and cultural links," said Hali, adding that China's Xinjiang and Pakistan can enhance cooperation in agriculture, trade, connectivity and culture.

Waseem Ishaque, director of Area Study China at Pakistan's National University of Modern Languages, said that Xinjiang would create new opportunities for Pakistan and China, especially in trade, industry, tourism, connectivity and people-to-people exchanges, leading to prosperity for both sides.