BEIJING – Enhanced economic cooperation will not only benefit present and future generations, but also reduce regional tensions opening ways towards shared prosperity, said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The prime minister was speaking at a roundtable session on Connectivity Cooperation for Interconnected Development.

“In Pakistan, we are pursuing our vision of a peaceful, inter-connected and prosperous neighbourhood with great determination,” the prime minister said.

The “One Belt-One Road” (OBOR) was in fact the beginning of a new era for humanity, which has brought to poor regions in the belt-road countries, spectacular opportunities to break free from the vicious cycle of poverty and under-development, he added.

“The railroads, highways, ports and airports that are being built are redefining economic landscapes within countries and regions. Hinterlands are being connected with coasts. Big businesses are moving to less developed and neglected territories. And a new generation of entrepreneurs is being inspired.”

He further highlighted that China and Pakistan were jointly implementing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and reaping the early benefits of interconnected development.

“As we connect Xinjiang to Gwadar and Karachi, with pathways of the Corridor running through the entire territory of Pakistan, it creates new supply and logistic chains, as well as manufacturing networks. In fact, CPEC has infused Pakistan’s economy with new vitality and dynamism,” he concluded.

Speaking at another round table on Policy Synergy for Closer Partnership, Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan strongly favours cooperation and synergetic partnerships across regions for socioeconomic development and human prosperity.

“Against this backdrop, it is imperative that we appreciate the “Belt and Road” initiative in its proper perspective of interconnected development. OBOR, as we know, is now turning into the centre of gravity for half of the world’s economies – in Asia, in Africa and in Europe,” he said.

All nations are concerned about the existing and emerging threats of terrorism, refugee movements, mass migration, food security and water shortages, Sharif said, adding, “I am confident that with OBOR in place, we would be able to turn the tide of these threats”.

He said there is need of policy synergy at yet another level. The new OBOR family and the wider international community should coordinate and synergise their initiatives to create and enhance the space for cooperation.

He also applaud China for taking this historic initiative, which now has the complete ownership of all participating countries.