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Pakistan seeks closer energy ties with China

08 January, 2014

BEIJING: Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif addressing 3rd Pak-China Joint Energy Working Group meeting in Beijing, China.
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BEIJING: Pakistan is seeking to intensify cooperation with China in the energy sector to solve its current power shortage, said the country's Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, during a visit to China's National Energy Agency here the other day.

The two countries are taking advantage of this occasion to begin planning for energy cooperation in the historic China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

Asif said Pakistan and China have signed an MoU that will see China Gezhouba Group start to assist Pakistan Power Park Management Company in building a new power plant in Pakistan's port city of Karachi, while the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) will sign an advisory agreement with the Sindh Coal Mining Company.

A power shortage has caused a bottleneck in Pakistan's development, especially due to the political instability in recent years. Limited power generation capabilities and losses in power transmission due to outdated technology are "huge burdens" on Pakistan's economy, said Asif.

He said that Chinese companies are playing a major role in changing the situation in Pakistan, and these companies have "a strong commitment to Pakistan and its economy."

"[The companies] are improving our generation capacity in thermoelectricity, hydropower and even in solar energy," Asif said.

The energy minister proposed that China ship its crude oil, imported from the Middle East, via Pakistan, which stretches from the Gulf of Omen in the southwest to the border with Xinjiang in China, because this path is "strategically more secure" than taking a detour via the Malacca Strait.

The project will offer strong potential for trade, economic and energy cooperation between the two countries.

End.

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