BISHKEK (TCA) — Foreign ministers of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan on December 26 agreed to discuss ways to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan, Xinhua reported. This would be part of China’s ambitious Belt and Road plan linking China with Asia and Europe.
"In the long run, through Afghanistan, we will gradually connect the CPEC with the China-Central and Western Asia Economic Corridor," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters after China-Afghanistan-Pakistan foreign ministers' meeting in Beijing.
As important neighbor of China and Pakistan, Afghanistan has an urgent desire to develop its economy and improve people's livelihood, and it is willing to integrate itself into the process of regional interconnection, said Wang.
Improving livelihoods in border areas may be an entry point for the extension, said Wang, noting that the three parties agreed to promote wider connectivity under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.
The CPEC is a network of highways, railways, pipelines and optical cables, and a flagship project under the Belt and Road Initiative, currently under construction throughout Pakistan.
The 3,000-km-long corridor starts from China's Kashgar and ends at Pakistan's Gwadar, connecting the Silk Road Economic Belt in the north and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road in the south.
Wang said the CPEC has not targeted at any third party, but hopes to bring benefits to the entire region and become an important driving force for regional integration.
"The CPEC is an economic cooperation project and should not be politicized," he said, noting that it has no relationship with existing disputes in the region, including territorial disputes.