ISLAMABAD: Rejecting the perception that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is adding to Pakistan’s economic problems, Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing said on Friday that his country would positively look at critical questions being raised about the project.
Speaking to journalists at the Chinese embassy here, he said it was China’s responsibility to make people better understand the CPEC.
“The CPEC is a broader initiative. China does not have any unilateral interest in it. It is mutually beneficial for both countries,” Mr Yao said.
China and Pakistan have been pursuing the multi-billion dollar CPEC project since 2015 that involves connectivity and infrastructure projects. Lately there have been concerns about the transparency of the project and that the CPEC was adding to Pakistan’s debt burden.
The ambassador said the economic corridor project was a demonstration of Chinese trust in Pakistan and its better future.
Envoy says Beijing to help Islamabad tackle financial challenges
Yao Jing also assured of his country’s full support for Pakistan over the latter’s economic challenges.
“We understand Pakistan is faced with challenges in economic and fiscal sector and as a friend China will extend to it whatever support and assistance is required by it,” he said.
He was speaking on the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China, where he would hold bilateral meetings with the Chinese leadership, besides attending the China International Import Expo in Shanghai. The visit would be the first one by Mr Khan to China after assuming the office of prime minister. It would provide him the first opportunity to engage with the Chinese leadership.
Among major issues that Mr Khan is expected to address during his four-day trip starting from Nov 2 are the future of the CPEC, economic assistance for Pakistan, and trade imbalance between the two countries.
Mr Khan has recently secured a $6 billion assistance package from Saudi Arabia and there are expectations that Beijing would also extend a similar facility so that Pakistan could minimise the impact of an International Monetary Fund facility.
The envoy said that China would like to build capacity of Pakistan’s economy, export and manufacturing sectors. He said China was for investing more in Pakistan and buying more from Pakistan and Chinese technology and huge market could contribute to strengthening Pakistan’s economy.
He endorsed the policies being pursued by the new government on the external front, saying that they were contributing to regional peace. “Pakistan is actively promoting regional stability by offering talks to India and playing an active role for peace in Afghanistan,” he said, adding that the international community would see Pakistan as a “responsible nation”.
Meeting with Gen Bajwa
Also on Friday, Ambassador Yao met Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and discussed with him “matters of mutual interests”, the Inter Services Public Relations said.
During the meeting, it is believed, the two men discussed matters related to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s upcoming visit to China.
The Foreign Office has said that the prime minister’s visit to China would provide “further impetus to enhancing the existing strategic ties between Pakistan and China and break new grounds for broadening the bilateral partnership”.
Gen Bajwa visited China last month and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Chinese president, while underscoring the role of Pakistan Army in the China-Pakistan ties said: “Pakistan Army has a pivotal role towards this lasting relationship.”
Published in Dawn, October 27th , 2018
Download the new Dawn mobile app here: