The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a flagship project under China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Announced in 2015, CPEC has expanded to include as much as $62 billion of investments. In Pakistan, there have been a range of reactions. CPEC advocates have characterized it as a “game-changer.” Others have warned that it is a new form of Chinese “imperialism.”
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Disaster sometimes moves slowly. Naturally, our attention is drawn to fast-moving, visually captivating threats: a raging wildfire, a careening car, a missile test. Terrorist attacks are often designed to tap into these cognitive biases. But some threats grow gradually and out of sight. When they finally materialize and appear urgent, it’s already too late.
Asia is a land of extremes. It is home to the world’s highest mountains, the largest swamps and flood plains, and the largest reservoir. It is also home to permafrost that extends to lower latitudes than anywhere else in the world. But as global temperatures rise, that permafrost is thawing and posing challenges for the region’s infrastructure.
Introducing the (X, Why) Series
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) traverses some of the world’s most dangerous terrain. According to the 2016 Global Terrorism Index, Pakistan is among the countries most impacted by terrorism. Within Pakistan, terrorist attacks are concentrated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Baluchistan, and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where combined casualties account for 76% of the national toll. CPEC’s western route passes through the heart of this unrest, with three out of its four sub-corridors running through the hotspots illustrated above. Since 2010, terrorist incidents and causalities have declined in Pakistan. But insecurity and the drivers behind this violence remain major risks for CPEC’s ambitious projects.