China and Pakistan have set their sights on a transport link from northwestern China to the Arabian Sea that they hope will boost economic growth and slash shipping times.
The broad agreement was among eight pacts signed Friday following a meeting in Beijing between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The transport link was described it as a "long-term plan" to connect the Chinese city of Kashgar to the port of Gwadar, more than 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) away across the towering Karakoram mountains and Pakistan's lawless Baluchistan province.
Another agreement will see a fiber optic cable laid from the Chinese border to the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi that will boost Pakistan's access to international communications networks. China is to provide 85 percent of financing.