Beijing: Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has reached Beijing for his two-day trip to China, the first such visit by a foreign leader since Chinese President Xi Jinping secured a historic third term.

Shehbaz Sharif Wednesday held a meeting with Xi Jinping that focussed on expanding cooperation on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Both leaders discussed broad-based cooperation in the economy and exchanged views on regional and global developments.

"Prime Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif met Chinese President Xi Jinping. Both leaders discussed mutual cooperation in all areas of bilateral relations, especially #CPEC projects and agreed to further strengthen strategic partnership," Pakistan Prime Minister's Office said in a tweet.

Shehbaz, who reached China on Tuesday, is accompanied by a high-level delegation with hopes of revitalising the CPEC project.

Writing for The Diplomat magazine, Mariyam Suleman Anees argued that the Pakistan government will be hoping that several CPEC projects that have been pending for years will get a boost following the Sharif-Xi meeting.

"Importantly, the Pakistani delegation is expected to request the Chinese government to roll over deposits and reschedule debts worth some USD 27 billion. Whether Xi will agree to Sharif's requests remains to be seen," she added.

Anees contended that China has been pouring money into low and middle-income countries, more than any other country around the world. Despite recent cuts in funds, Islamabad remains the highest recipient of loans from Beijing, mainly due to CPEC projects.

Though CPEC is key to its efforts to boost its energy economic security, Beijing has been apprehensive that rival powers will block its access to this strategic waterway in case of war. In spite of the "Malacca dilemma", Chinese funding for CPEC projects has been slowing down in recent years.

Mariyam Anees said that there are two possible reasons that are currently deterring the Chinese from investing in CPEC: mounting debt that Pakistan has been unable to repay and China's economic situation.

"While Pakistan is eyeing continued and intensified bilateral cooperation with China and the implementation of CPEC projects, there are concerns that Islamabad may be debt-trapped," she added.

Mariyam further points to a recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) report highlighting that Pakistan's debt owed to China is three times more than it owes the IMF.