QUETTA: Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing has confirmed Beijing is revisiting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in view of suggestions made by the PTI government to include new development projects with the consensus of both countries.
He said this during a visit to the Quetta Press Club on Wednesday. China’s Counsel General based in Karachi and other officials of the consulate and embassy were also present.
The decision to review the CPEC agreement was natural as the new government had its own agenda and vision, Mr Jing said, adding the the two governments had agreed to further expand the CPEC.
He said that taking decisions with mutual understanding and consensus was part of the agreement and both sides had decided to continue work on projects.
The Chinese ambassador said Pakistan’s new government was giving priority to the socio-economic sector and its desire to review the projects would be considered.
He said China and Pakistan were strategic partners and the main objective of the CPEC included establishing road network, construction of highways and motorways, power generation and developing the agriculture sector.
He said that China would focus on joint ventures and would give attention to the socio-economic sector in the next phase.
The Chinese ambassador said the CPEC had entered “a new era” which would help in creating jobs. “Balochistan offers numerous opportunities to investors in agriculture, livestock, mines and minerals,” he said.
Representatives of the provincial chamber of commerce urged the ambassador to establish a Chinese consulate in Quetta to address their business needs.
Mr Jing promised to discuss their request with the Chinese high-ups.
In reply to a question, he said China had no objection to inclusion of Saudi Arabia and other countries in the CPEC. “We will welcome Saudi Arabia and any other country to invest in CPEC projects as China wants to expand the project up to Central Asian states via Afghanistan.”
Responding to another question, Mr Jing said Balochistan was an important part of the agreement and the second phase would be more important for the province.
He said China would give priority to developing different sectors, particularly agriculture and industries, adding that Balochistan would be main beneficiary of the CPEC. Chinese investors, he said, would find new trade and investment opportunities. There were great potentials in mineral resources, mining, livestock and fisheries sectors which should be promoted, he said, adding China would help local people to export fruit, vegetables and seafood.
Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2018