BEIJING - President of China Communications Construction Company Liu Qitao said here on Tuesday that construction work from Xinjiang to Gwadar cost the lives about 88 company’s staff members.

Addressing a news conference, he said the company spent 10 years to construct the road link between the two countries.

“Over 88 Chinese staff died from natural disasters during the construction process. There is a senior Pakistani citizen who devoted himself to take care of our heroes graves all year round and he keeps doing this even now.”

More than 15 million people benefit from China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, he said.

Take Gwadar Port as an example, it used to be a small fishing village before this programme, but now it’s transforming and upgrading into a unification of port and park, he added.

In the near future, Gwadar Port will turn out to be the nearest port to Central Asia mainland countries and will definitely play a crucial role in this area, he stated. Projects of CPEC are on a fast track of construction and tangible benefits are visible, he said.

Both the sides along with the regional countries will be having the benefits of the CPEC projects in the future by strengthening the economies and gaining growing GDPs, he stated.

Meanwhile, it was announced here that China Mobile will lay cross-border optical fiber cables with Pakistan and other neighbours. China Mobile Communications Corp, the world’s biggest telecom carrier by subscribers, said it aims to build a globally connected telecom infrastructure system, as it scrambles to promote regional connectivity and offer better services for economies along the routes of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The State-owned company announced that it will step up efforts to build key cross-border optical fiber cable projects to link China with neighbouring countries. It also plans to build eight internet data centers in economies along the Belt and Road within three years, and build new submarine cables and international communication services gateways to Asia, Europe and the United States.

Meanwhile, China on Tuesday emphasised that the building of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was progressing very smoothly and it has entered into stage of comprehensive implementation.

“The building of the corridor is progressing very smoothly and it has entered into stage of comprehensive implementation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, Geng Shuang said during a regular news briefing.

When asked to share progress on the energy projects being completed under the CPEC to overcome electricity shortage in Pakistan, he said, “Out of 17 projects planned in the field of energy, 11 of them have been put into construction.”

The spokesperson said that the completion of energy-related programmes will greatly provide relief to people.

Responding to a question, he said that China’s promotion of CPEC framework did not change its position on Kashmir issue. “We always believe that Kashmir is an issue left over from the history between India and Pakistan, which we hope will be properly addressed by the two sides through consultation and negotiation.”

To yet another question about Indian efforts to further cement its ties with Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan to against the ongoing cooperation between China and Pakistan, he said, “China also welcomes enhancement of bilateral relations and cooperation between India and other relevant countries.”

Geng Shuang hoped that this kind of cooperation would be conducive to enhancing mutual trust among the countries in the region and regional peace and stability.

When asked as to how important for China that India should consider to participating in the forthcoming forum, he said, some Indian scholars have been registered to attend high-level meetings of Belt and Road Initiative to be held here.

“As the host county, China will warmly welcome all the participants including from India,” he added.

To yet another question, he said that China and India are two major developing countries in the world.

“The bilateral relationship and cooperation between them serves interests of people of the two countries and also conducive to peace and stability of the region and the world,” he said, adding, China position to improve relations with India is very clear. Regarding participation of North Korea’s participation in the Belt and Road Forum, he said, the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) will send a delegation to attend the forum.