19:57 GMT21 October 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will begin a three-day official visit to China beginning on Monday, during which both countries are likely to discuss the next steps in the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, a media report has said.

    The CPEC is a flagship infrastructure-related project conceived by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Pakistan as part of the expanded multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that proposes to link the continents of Asia, Africa, and Europe.

    Beijing and Islamabad will formally negotiate additional CPEC projects, the Pakistani daily Dawn quoted Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar as saying.

    “All existing projects under the CPEC portfolio have been streamlined and there is no slowdown anywhere”, the minister said, while rejecting reports about CPEC projects experiencing a slowdown as speculative.

    Pakistan plans to get China involved to construct an overland liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, a 7,000-megawatt hydropower project in the Gilgit-Baltistan region, and oil refineries, the minister added.

    As part of ongoing bilateral economic cooperation, Pakistan is also keen to offer China a joint venture stake in the government-owned, but cash-starved, Pakistan Steel Mills, he said.

    The modernisation of a railway project between the Pakistani cities of Karachi and Lahore and participation in agriculture and social sector-related projects which fall outside the CPEC ambit are also under consideration, he added.

    In the energy sector, Islamabad will formally request Beijing for assistance in reducing its current annual oil import bill of $14 billion by $1.5 billion, the minister said.

    Chairing a meeting related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor last week, Prime Minister Khan stressed on removing all bottlenecks to ensure the timely completion of the projects.

    talks, joint projects, official state visit, Imran Khan, Prime Minister, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), China, Pakistan
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