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Pakistan wants to speed up China-linked project amid fears over fatal attacks

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — estimated to be worth US$62 billion by the Brookings Institution – is the most high-profile symbol of bilateral cooperation between the two nations. However, a surge in attacks against Chinese nationals building plants and elsewhere in Pakistan in recent years has cast a shadow on the CPEC.

Launched in 2015, the 15-year project aims to connect the Pakistani port of Gwadar with the Chinese city of Kashgar through a network of highways, railways, and energy projects and stimulate growth in Pakistan’s economy across sectors from manufacturing to tech.

During his visit from Monday, Dar will co-chair the fifth Pakistan-China Foreign Minister Strategic Dialogues with China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi and discuss economic and other partnerships.

Over the past few years, a series of deadly attacks have targeted Chinese nationals linked to the CPEC and Pakistani security installations.

“Chinese concerns on the safety of their nationals in Pakistan are very much legitimate,” former foreign minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri told This Week in Asia.

“We have to do much more than what we have done for their security.”

Among the notable incidents were the attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi, Pakistan’s financial hub, in 2018 and an assault in 2020 on the Pakistan Stock Exchange, in which Chinese entities hold a 40 per cent stake.

In 2022, the Karachi University’s Confucius Centre, a Chinese language and cultural centre, was the target of a suicide bombing that killed three Chinese teachers and a Pakistani national.

The attacks were attributed to separatist factions including the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and other ethnic Baloch and Sindhi insurgent groups that vehemently