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China says it is willing to upgrade economic corridor with Pakistan and deepen ties with Brazil

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BEIJING (AP) — Beijing is willing to work with Islamabad to build an upgraded version of an economic corridor linking the two countries, China’s leader Xi Jinping told visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday.

Sharif pledged to ensure the safety of Chinese workers in Pakistan, according to a report on their meeting posted online by state broadcaster CCTV. The report said that Sharif offered his government’s condolences for the deaths in March of five Chinese engineers in a suicide bombing in Pakistan. They were working on a dam project in the South Asian country.

The Pakistani leader, near the end of a five-day visit, is making his first trip to China since his election in March. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor includes building and improving roads and rail systems to link western China’s Xinjiang region to Pakistan’s Gwadar port on the Arabian sea. It is part of Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative to increase trade by building infrastructure around the world.

Xi said he hopes that Pakistan will ensure the safety of Chinese personnel and projects, CCTV reported.

Earlier in the day, Xi met with Brazilian Vice President Geraldo Alckmin, who expressed hope that many Chinese companies would participate in a Brazilian government infrastructure program that includes railways, energy, port and airport projects.

Xi said that China-Brazil ties are a model to promote solidarity and cooperation among emerging economies. The Chinese leader has sought to deepen ties with Brazil, Russia and several other countries to counter America’s dominance in international affairs.

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