China to 'firmly move forward' on infrastructure projects

Published November 3, 2018
Prime Minister Imran Khan and China's Premier Li Keqiang attend a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. — AFP
Prime Minister Imran Khan and China's Premier Li Keqiang attend a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. — AFP

China has agreed to “firmly move forward” on various infrastructure projects in Pakistan following a meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang, on Saturday.

The agreement follows concerns that Islamabad's spiralling financial crisis could lead Beijing to scale back its projects in the country, where it is helping to build the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Project (CPEC).

The project is at the heart of Chinese President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious, globe-spanning trade and infrastructure programme.

The massive undertaking has drawn both praise and criticism from around the world, with some saying the initiative is filling a critical funding gap in the developing world, while others fear the Chinese loans financing the work are designed to entrap their recipients in debt.

In Pakistan, Belt-and-Road-linked projects have come in for heavy criticism for their opaque lending terms, with some arguing that Beijing's largesse may worsen Islamabad's fiscal dilemma.

But both Pakistan and China played down those concerns on Saturday, describing the programme as a key part of Islamabad's recovery plans.

In his meeting with Li, Khan invited the Chinese premier to visit Pakistan and see for himself the difference the mega-project has made in the country.

“CPEC in 2013 was just an idea. Now it is on the ground. And it has caught the imagination of the people of Pakistan,” he said.

“We feel that this a great opportunity for our country to progress, to attract investment. It gives us an opportunity to raise our standard of living, growth rate.”

Li praised the relationship, saying “China and Pakistan are all-weather partners".

"Pakistan has always been regarded as a foreign policy priority by China."

15 MoUs signed between China and Pakistan

About 15 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) for cooperation between China and Pakistan in multiple fields were signed in Beijing by officials of both countries, RadioPak reported.

Prime Minister Khan and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang overlooked the signing ceremony, that was held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Both countries pledged to cooperate in various fields, including forestry, earth sciences, agriculture as well as in the industrial sector.

The neighbouring countries also agreed to work together to alleviate poverty in Pakistan as well as to ensure the provision of technical training to potential labour.

The Chinese Academy of Science also signed MoUs with the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan and Pakistan Meteorological Department.

Opinion

Quest for truth
18 Jun 2021

Quest for truth

News travels quickly and without any editorial checks.
Controversial poll reforms
Updated 17 Jun 2021

Controversial poll reforms

If govt doesn’t engage opposition in dialogue, its last two years may be spent in dealing with a controversy over electoral laws.

Editorial

Poll bill reservations
Updated 18 Jun 2021

Poll bill reservations

Reforming the electoral process is vital for Pakistan, and doing so by taking everyone on board is equally important.
18 Jun 2021

E-fund transfer fee

THE State Bank’s decision to withdraw the facility of free of cost digital fund transfer services is disappointing...
18 Jun 2021

Gaza bombed again

MEMORIES of last month’s savage assault by Israel targeting Gaza had not yet faded when earlier this week news...
Shameful behaviour
17 Jun 2021

Shameful behaviour

Both opposition and treasury members should create space for opinions to be heard and aired.
17 Jun 2021

Sindh budget

A CURSORY reading of the Sindh budget 2021-22 reinforces the impression that Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah’s...
17 Jun 2021

West on China

IN what seems like a distinct return to Cold War rhetoric, the Western bloc has issued back-to-back statements...