China and Pakistan have agreed to expand their oil, gas and mining cooperation following Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to China on 4–8 June. 

In a joint statement, the nations agreed to enhance cooperation within the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a Chinese land and sea infrastructure project in Pakistan centred on the country’s north-east border.  

Both countries have also signed an action plan for the Framework Agreement on Industrial Cooperation under the CPEC to strengthen industrial collaboration in various areas tailored to local conditions. 

China has invested more than $65bn in road, infrastructure and development projects as part of the CPEC’s Belt and Road initiative, one element of China’s global infrastructure plans to use ‘soft power’ to boost local economies and establish trade routes. 

The two countries signed 23 agreements and several memorandums of understanding to cooperate on the CPEC, infrastructure, industrial cooperation, intergovernmental development assistance, mapping, market regulation and surveying, among other areas. 

China remains keen on exploring Pakistan’s offshore oil and gas resources and natural gas hydrates. The country will also encourage Chinese companies to “actively participate in the development of offshore oil and gas blocks of Pakistan”, the statement said.  

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“The two sides reaffirmed the significance of enhancing bilateral energy cooperation, expressed commitment to further strengthening collaboration in the clean energy sector, and encouraged Chinese companies to engage in hydropower and other relevant projects based on market principles and commercial operations and achieve win-win outcomes,” the statement read.  

Both sides also said they would develop an “upgraded version of CPEC by jointly building a growth corridor, a livelihood-enhancing corridor, an innovation corridor, a green corridor, and an open corridor”.  

The announcement noted that China and Pakistan recognised mining as a key area for industrial collaboration and committed to enhancing long-term planning for mining cooperation.  

They also agreed to fully implement the Agreement to Strengthen Mining and Industrial Cooperation under the CPEC Framework and to engage in activities such as geological surveys, joint geology, mineral research and talent training.  

Both countries also pledged to actively promote Chinese investment in Pakistan’s mining industry and improve the planning of mining industrial parks, including downstream mineral processing. 

The statement added that China has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting and assisting Pakistan and other developing nations in managing climate change and mitigating the adverse effects of severe weather events.