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PM arrives in China to attend OBOR forum

BEIJING: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived here on Friday to participate in the One-Belt-One-Road (OBOR) forum which is aimed at regional development through cooperation.

Li Shixiang, the vice chairman of the Beijing Municipal Chinese People`s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China`s Ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong, and senior government officials received the prime minister and Begum Kalsoom Sharif at the Beijing International Airport. Pakistan`s Ambassador Masood Khalid was also present.

The prime minister was accompanied by the chief ministers of four provinces Shahbaz Sharif from Punjab, Pervaiz Khattak from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Nawab Sanaullah Zehri from Balochistan and Murad Ali Shah from Sindh.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Railways Minister Saad Rafique, Minister for Planning Dr Ahsan Iqbal, Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir, Minister of State for Information Technology Anousha Rehman and PM`s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz were also part of Mr Sharif`s entourage.

At the forum, Mr Sharif will address the plenary session of a high-level dialogue besides addressing two roundtable sessions on `Policy Synergy for Closer Partnership` and `Connectivity Cooperation for Inter-connected Development`.

A number of agreements and memorandums of understanding related to ChinaPakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects are expected to be signed at the event.

Besides attending the forum, the prime minister will hold bilateral meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. He will also hold meetings on the sidelines with several other heads of state and government attending the forum.

The agenda Earlier, Mr Iqbal said that agreements for the construction of Gwadar airport, expressway and upgrade of the railway track ML-1 were on the prime minister`s agenda for his week-long trip to China. He said this en route to Beijing with Mr Sharif.

Discussing the OBOR initiative, he said China aims to establish regional connectivity with Africa and Asia through multiple linkages.

About CPEC, Mr Iqbal said that while the Chinese president`s trip had been delayed due to political situation in the country, the government had managed to launch energy and infrastructure projects worth over $50 billion.

Minister for Railways Saad Rafique said that the railway track from Karachi to Torkham would be upgraded and the speed of the trains on the route would be increased from 80km to 160km per hour.-APP