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Pak offers trade corridor to China

Pakistan is keen to act as a transit point for China by giving access to the Gwadar port on the Arabian sea coast in Balochistan province.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2006 13:20 IST

Pakistan is keen to act as a transit point for China by giving access to the strategic Gwadar port on the Arabian sea to tap the Central Asian markets and vast energy sources, visiting President Pervez Musharraf said.

"We are interested in setting up a trade and energy corridor for China," he was quoted as saying by the state-run 'China Daily.'

Musharraf, who is on a five-day state visit to China, was referring to Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea coast in Pakistan's Balochistan province through which crude oil imports from Iran and Africa can be transported to Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region by land.

The Pakistan President, who discussed the proposal with top Chinese leaders here, said the route on which a feasibility study is being conducted is a shortcut compared with the one via the Straits of Malacca.

The Gwadar port is strategically located as it is quite near the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 per cent of the world's oil passes, he noted.

China contributed about $200 million for construction of Gwadar port's first phase, which was completed last April when Premier Wen Jiabao visited Pakistan.

It is reported that China will also finance the second phase, which will have nine more berths, an approach channel and storage terminals.

First Published: Feb 22, 2006 13:20 IST