ISLAMABAD: A Chinese minister on Tuesday urged Pakistani political parties to join hands for the success of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and attainment of the ‘shared goal of development’.

“Political parties in Pakistan have divergent interests. We hope that the political parties can work together to resolve their differences and make CPEC a success,” Zheng Xiaosong, Vice Minister of International Department, Central Committee, The Communist Party of China (CPC), said in a lecture at the Pak-China Institute.

Mr Zheng, during his visit, met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Pakistan Peoples Party and extended invitation to these parties for a visit to China.

China has been giving a lot of importance to CPEC, which is the flagship project of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road initiative. Therefore, CPEC’s success is being viewed as a key to the future of the Belt and Road project that has drawn a lot of international interest.

Examine: Has CPEC now kicked off?

Critical views of some of the Pakistani political parties on certain issues related to CPEC have, therefore, been a cause of concern for the Chinese leadership.

The project’s success is viewed as key to the future of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Project

Mr Zheng explained that it was natural for CPEC, a project with “long timeline” and one that is a “corridor of strenuous endeavours”, to face issues from time to time. He offered the Chinese government’s help to Pakistan for dealing with those issues. “We are ready to work with Pakistan for consensus and strive jointly for the way forward,” he said.

The Chinese minister emphasised the need for public support for guaranteeing “safe and stable environment for investment” and developing “sound political and public opinion” for the project.

Dispelling the perception that CPEC was benefiting some of the provinces more, Mr Zheng maintained that it was for “entire Pakistan”.

Touching upon the concern about India and some of the other countries conspiring against CPEC, he said project’s success would be the best response to its opponents.

His two-pronged strategy for dealing with external conspiracies against CPEC was “strengthening of cooperation and communication” between Pakistan and China; and promoting unity within Pakistan.

Mr Zheng said a “high level of political trust” was the feature of longstanding Pak-China ties. He assured that his country would remain Pakistan’s strong ally and would continue extending support to it on the issues of its core interest.

Senator Mushahid Hussain applauded the governance of the CPC for bringing “stability and prosperity to the world’s most populous country,” as well as for “making positive contributions to global issues such as climate change”.

He appreciated the role of Communist Party of China in taking 700 million people of China out of poverty within a generation, something unique in the annals of history. He added that the CPC was playing a positive role in building a 21st century multi-polar world based on rule of law and the UN charter, opposing hegemony and interference in internal affairs. He also praised the CPC for giving equal rights to women in Chinese society.

Senator Mushahid praised the Chinese government for its effective and exemplary fight against corruption. The ruling party of China, with around 89 million members, he underscored, has punished up to one million officials over corruption. He said Pakistan should learn from its neighbour.

Published in Dawn December 21st, 2016


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