The scope of CPEC will be improved in the second phase: Pakistan official

ISLAMABAD: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor () is about to launch its second phase to add more sectors such as agriculture and tourism, said a senior Pakistani official, rejecting reports that the multi-billion dollar project is slowing down due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

China has pledged to invest more than $ 60 billion in Pakistan as part of the CPEC under which it planned to build a series of special economic zones.

Asim Saleem Bajwa, chairman of the CPEC Authority, in a tweet on Wednesday rejected reports of the adverse impact of the coronavirus on CPEC projects.

The rumors about the CPEC slowdown are totally unfounded. Misdirected propaganda articles continue to appear, said Bajwa, a former army lieutenant general.

He said that, in fact, the second phase of CPEC is being launched to add more sectors that would develop in Pakistan.

Reality; #CPEC is making steady progress and is about to launch Phase 2 with improved scope, involving the Chinese and Pakistani private sectors, he said.

Bajwa further said that agriculture and food security, science and technology and tourism would be additional focus areas in the second phase of the project.

The Planning Minister also said on February 26 that new projects will be added in the second phase.

CPEC was launched in 2015 when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan and has so far focused on energy and infrastructure projects.

The CPEC connecting China to Pakistan's Gwadar port is considered the flagship project of billionaire Belt and Road (BRI) that aims to promote China's global influence with infrastructure projects financed by Chinese investments around the world.

India has opposed CPEC as it is being installed through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. >