Trilateral talks between China, Pakistan and Afghanistan will be held today in Kabul, following last month’s successful visit by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to China.
Historically conflict-plagued Pakistan and Afghanistan have seen massive investments from Beijing in recent years. Development projects and aid hope to bolster both regional stability and China’s growing influence. Central to this vision is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)—a network of roads and railways which envisions a direct trade route running from China through Pakistan into the Arabian Sea.
Though Islamabad and Beijing have re-cemented their commitment to completing this project, corruption in Pakistan has contributed to CPEC’s rising costs and the need for further international loans. Today’s talks will likely encompass this issue and potentially result in more funding from China.
Because CPEC is vital to Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative and offers Pakistan the economic investment necessary to jump-start its economy, both sides have a large interest in seeing its success. However, expect continued international pushback from both India and the US, particularly through institutions such as the IMF, where Pakistan may need to turn for future loans. While preventing CPEC completely is unlikely, US and India can certainly prolong the road to completion.
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Taylor provides insight into trade and technology, with a particular focus on North America and the Asia Pacific. He also serves as a copy editor on The Daily Brief.