China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is one of the major components of China’s ‘One Belt One Road (OBOR)’ mega-project which is aimed at connecting China with various markets in Asia, Europe, Middle East and beyond through land and maritime routes. As one of the most important ‘legs of OBOR’, CPEC connects China’s western region of Xinjiang with Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean through Pakistan via three parallel (but spread all over Pakistan’s mainland territory) road and rail routes.
CPEC is regarded as a symbol of China-Pakistan all-weather strategic friendship and cooperation as it has received overwhelming support by general public and political circles in both the countries. It is regarded as a new impetus to the strong bilateral relations between the two countries.
In 2013, the Chinese premier Li Keqiang proposed the idea of CPEC to Pakistani authorities while on his visit to Pakistan. It was received with warmth and welcome. In his visit to China the same year, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif signed a MoU to start work on CPEC. Later in 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan and signed a number of agreements to officially kick off work on CPEC comprising of various projects. These projects belong to numerous fields such as transport, energy, industrial production, health, infrastructure, communication, security, mining, R&D, education, water supply and commerce, and are set to be completed by 2030. Currently, the project has entered into the implementation phase from planning. Various prioritized projects, particularly from transport infrastructure and energy fields, also known as ‘early harvest’ projects, are to be completed by 2018. The synergizing of the development schemes in the two countries in form of CPEC will bear long-lasting fruits especially in the economically impoverished regions.
To promote the completion of the projects, China and Pakistan have set up the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) on CPEC Long Term Planning. Four joint working groups are working under the JCC, long-term planning, transportation infrastructure, energy and Gwadar port. The JCC secretaries, who are responsible for communication and coordination related to CPEC projects, work under the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms of Pakistan and National Development and Reform Commission of China.