BEIJING: Appreciating Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Beijing said both China and Pakistan would welcome all countries and international organisations to participate in the flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) on the basis of consensus.

“We appreciate the remarks made by Prime Minister Imran Khan,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said during his regular briefing on Friday.

“China and Pakistan welcome all countries and international organisations that support the BRI or CPEC, conduct mutually beneficial cooperation and to seek common development to participate in CPEC development on the basis of consensus so as to sharing the benefits of the development,” he said.

Mr Zhao remarked that as an important pilot project of the BRI, the CPEC upheld the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits.

CPEC boosted economic development, improved people’s livelihood and generated positive socio-economic effects since its launch, he said.

“China is ready to work with Pakistan to follow through the consensus reached by the two leaders [i.e. Prime Minister Khan and Chinese President Xi Jinping], deepen CPEC development, ensure smooth implementation of major projects, expand cooperation in science and technology, agriculture and livelihood,” Mr Zhao said.

“We will build a corridor for a green development, health and digital economy and make CPEC a demonstration programme of high-quality development under the BRI,” he added.

In a recent interview with Li Shimo, the director of the advisory committee of the China Institute at Fudan University, Mr Khan said the Belt and Road Initiative could help Pakistan lift its people out of poverty.

“I do not understand why there is this suspicion about CPEC and the Gwadar port ... what China achieved is really [why] we look at China as a role model, because never has a nation lifted so many people out of poverty as did China,” the prime minister said.

“We see CPEC and Gwadar as a great opportunity for our geo-economics. I think this is not exclusive between Pakistan and China. We invite any other country to join and invest in CPEC projects,” Mr Khan said during the interview.

Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2022

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