Launched in 2015, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC is a 15-year, three-phase connectivity project linked to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The planned CPEC completion date is 2030. CPEC marks the latest phase in China-Pakistan relations, with economics and trade playing a more substantial role than ever before. Its roots go back to the 1950s, when China and Pakistan established diplomatic relations and Pakistan purchased the Gwadar port from the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman.
The Karakoram Highway — completed in 1979, after two decades of construction and the loss of hundreds of lives — opens for two-way traffic at the Khunjerab Pass border crossing. Four years later, the Khunerjab Pass would be open to foreign tourists.
During a state visit to Pakistan, Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji agrees to finance the first phase of the construction of the Gwadar port and the Makran Coastal Highway that connects Gwadar to Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city.
Pakistani military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf and Chinese Vice Premier Wu Bangguo attend groundbreaking ceremony for the Gwadar Port. Musharraf describes the port as a gateway for “Central Asia and also China’s western region.”
The inauguration of PSA International’s operation of the Gwadar port takes place. The Singapore-based company was awarded the port concession in December 2006, though Dubai’s DP World was seen as the favorite.
The Gwadar port receives its first shipment: 72,700 metric tons of wheat — well above its capacity of 50,000 DWT. As a result, a portion of the shipment had to be offloaded onto another vessel before the ship was able to dock.
Leasing rights for the Gwadar port are transferred from PSA International to China Overseas Ports Holding Company, registered in Hong Kong. Direct talks between PSA and China Harbor Engineering Company, another Chinese state-owned enterprise, began in 2012.
During the visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to Islamabad, China and Pakistan agree to develop an “economic corridor.” Li arrived in Islamabad after a trip to New Delhi, where he had discussed the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridor.
Newly-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif makes a multi-day state visit to China. Beijing and Islamabad agree to “develop the long-term plan for [the] China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping begins a two-day visit to Pakistan, where he formally inaugurated the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.