Chinese President Xi Jinping has ended a visit to Pakistan after signing $45 billion worth of investment agreements in the South Asian nation.
NPR's Philip Reeves tells our Newscast unit that Xi's visit is being seen as a "game changer." Here's more from him:
"This trip marks a step forward in China's grand plan for securing new and more direct routes to the energy resources and markets of the Middle East, Africa and Europe. This includes creating a corridor running from western China down through Pakistan to its southern port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea."
Of the $45 billion in investments, up to $37 billion would be spent on Pakistan's electrical grid, said Ahsan Iqbal, the country's minister for planning and development; $28 billion worth of projects were ready to be rolled out, he said, according to The Associated Press.
But as NPR's Reeves adds: "The challenge now is making these [projects] happen. The corridor passes through an area where there's a separatist insurgency. Ambitious plans and promises have fizzled out in the past. That's why much emphasis was placed during President Xi's visit on security cooperation."
The New York Times said Xi's visit and the promised investment was "on a scale the United States has never offered in the past decade of a close relationship [with Pakistan], a gesture likely to confirm the decline of American influence in that nation."