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As China expands its regional influence, its relationship with Pakistan will be increasingly important. Last April, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif signed a series of agreements cementing their partnership, including final plans for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, an economic initiative to connect the two countries through a web of railways, roads, pipelines, and other development projects. Once built, the nearly 2,000-mile-long corridor will shorten China's route to the Middle East by about 7,500 miles. No wonder China has invested $46 billion in the project.
Yet for all its potential benefits, the corridor comes with political risks. It will pass through three restive regions: Kashmir in India and Pakistan, Xinjiang in China, and Baluchistan in Pakistan. China and Pakistan’s economic relationship will affect all three areas, likely for ill.
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During the last UN Sustainable Development Summit, in September, Sharif said of the corridor, “