The China Pakistan Economic Corridor not only entails greater connectivity between China and Pakistan but will also benefit the region, a senior Pakistani minister said on Monday in Beijing.
The impact of the corridor is apparent on regional connectivity, investment opportunities and people-to-people contacts, Pakistani Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb told China Daily.
"Not only Pakistan will benefit from the initiative but these links would be equally beneficial for our neighbors and in the long term, the whole region", she said.
The corridor is a key project of the Belt and Road Initiative, which enhances connectivity between Pakistan and China through a network of roads, rail, fiber optic cables, energy pipelines and power generation projects, she said.
The minister noted that early corridor projects are making progress; the first Gwadar International Expo held in January was attended by foreign diplomats, entrepreneurs and over 5,000 business representatives from all over the world.
"We are looking forward to enhanced cooperation and to further strengthen the relations between the two countries", she said.
She said that a number of projects, especially in infrastructure and energy, will be completed early this year.
The minister also emphasized the importance of cultural exchanges, saying sustainability of economic prosperity and cooperation requires mutual understanding of each other's culture, heritage and language.
"Cultural exchanges are helping people from both countries to understand each other, so in a way the corridor has enhanced these cultural exchanges and these cultural exchanges will strengthen the project and will further cement bilateral ties", she said.
More than 22,000 Pakistani students are studying in China, she added.
Noting that friendship with China is the cornerstone of Pakistan's foreign policy, she said she is looking forward to expanding bilateral cooperation in various fields, including establishing a mechanism of mutual exchange in the fields of drama and movies, sports, youth, and literature.