Chinese President Xi Jinping will launch energy and infrastructure projects worth $46 billion on a visit to Pakistan next week as China cements links with its old ally and generates opportunities for firms hit by slack growth at home.
Also being finalised is a long-discussed plan to sell Pakistan eight Chinese submarines. The deal, worth between $4 billion and $5 billion, according to media reports, may be among those signed on the trip, Dawn newspaper reported on Saturday.
Xi will visit next Monday and Tuesday, Pakistan's foreign office said.
“China treats us as a friend, an ally, a partner and above all an equal - not how the Americans and others do,” said Mushahid Hussain Syed, chairman of the parliament's defence committee.
Pakistan and China often boast of being “iron brothers” and two-way trade grew to $10 billion last year from $4 billion in 2007, Pakistani data shows.
Xi's trip is expected to focus on a Pakistan-China Economic Corridor, a planned $46-billion network of roads, railways and energy projects linking Pakistan's deepwater Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea with China's far-western Xinjiang region.
It would shorten the route for China's energy imports, bypassing the Straits of Malacca between Malaysia and Indonesia, a bottleneck at risk of blockade in wartime.