The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Pakistan discussed setting up a base in Pakistan for science and technology cooperation at the recent International Conference on “CPEC Natural Hazards Risk Assessment and Mitigation” and “Silk Road Disaster Risk Reduction”. CPEC is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

“The China-Pakistan Earth Science Center will work on the great S&T challenges facing CPEC. It will be planned, administered and constructed by both parties and its benefits will be shared, so we hope Pakistan may offer its full support,” said Zhang Jie, vice-president of CAS, at the meeting held in Pakistan July 17-18.

In his address at the opening ceremony Zhang noted that CPEC is a trial and prioritized part of the Belt and Road Initiative. It stretches from Kashi of China to Gawadar Port of Pakistan over a length of 3,000 kilometers.

The convergence of three young mountain ranges – the Himalaya, Karakoram and Hindu Kush - in this region has led to  a complex geology and weak ecosystem with active seismic activities and frequent natural disasters.

With so many Earth science problems that need solving, CEPC’s construction requires strong S&T support.

As China’s strategic S&T power, CAS has made full use of its advantages in international cooperation to support the initiative.

CAS was one of the first organizations to crystallize the Belt and Road Initiative by undertaking substantive measures in S&T collaborations. Since 2013, the academy has launched many projects concerning cooperation on science and education with developing countries, highlighted by the establishment of the nine overseas institutions.

The new Earth science center is another demonstration of its supporting the Belt and Road with its S&T strengths.

At the meeting, Zhang exchanged views on enhancing mutual cooperation on Earth science and S&T support for CPEC with the heads of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences, the Higher Education Commission, Karakoram International University, Mohammad Ali Jinnah University, and the Pakistan Science Foundation.

Zhang also met with Syed Zuhair Bokhari, chairman of the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission, Fazal Abbas Maken, Federal Secretary for Pakistan’s Ministry of Science and Technology, and Dr. Ghulam Rasul, Director-General of the Pakistan Meteorological Department, asking for their opinions and suggestions about the center.

CPEC, proposed by Premier Li Keqiang during a visit to Pakistan in May 2013, is meant to enhance mutual connectivity as well as exchanges and cooperation on transportation, energy, and marine affairs, and to seek common development.

The CAS delegation was supported by the Chinese Embassy to Pakistan and met with Charge D'Affaires Zhao Lijian.

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