ISLAMABAD — A spokesman says Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is traveling to Beijing to attend a two-day international gathering promoting China’s plan for a vast trade network.

Sharif’s office says in a statement the premier leaves for China later Friday at the invitation of the President Xi Jinping to attend the event which is part of “Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road” initiative, which was launched by Xi in 2013.

The event opens Sunday and will be attended by 27 countries.

China is currently working on a new Silk Road of ports, railways and roads in Pakistan to expand trade in a vast arc of countries across Asia, Europe and Africa.

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