China, Pakistan Agree to Strengthen Oil and Gas Cooperation

© Oleksii / Adobe Stock
© Oleksii / Adobe Stock

China and Pakistan have agreed to boost mining cooperation and promote the implementation of a pact on strengthening mining development and industrial cooperation, according to a joint statement from the two countries.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited in Beijing from June 4 to 8, in a bid to upgrade cooperation under the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is a key part of Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative.

The countries will promote investment by Chinese firms in Pakistan's mining industry, and strengthen the planning of mining industry parks, including deep processing of ores, according to the joint statement published by China's foreign ministry.

China will strengthen cooperation with Pakistan in areas such as marine oil and gas resources and natural gas hydrates, and will encourage Chinese firms to participate in the development of offshore oil and gas blocks in Pakistan, said the statement.

Chinese investment and financial support for Pakistan since 2013 have been a boon for the South Asian nation's struggling economy, including the rolling over of loans so that Islamabad is able to meet external financing needs at a time foreign reserves are critically low.

Beijing has over $65 billion in investment in road, infrastructure and development projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as part of the Belt and Road scheme.

(Reuters - Reporting by Kevin Yao and Shuyan Wang; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Kim Coghill)

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