Chinese scholar reacts over the reports of coronavirus effects on the Pakistan China CPEC project

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Chinese scholar reacts over the reports of coronavirus effects on the Pakistan China CPEC project

BEIJING - Terming the current novel coronavirus epidemic’s impact as temporary, a Chinese scholar believed that the construction of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will continue to advance smoothly as planned.

“The epidemic situation in China has now been effectively controlled. So even if there’s a little impact, it’s temporary. I believe that after the short-term difficulties, the construction of the CPEC will continue to advance smoothly as planned,” according to an article by Cheng Xizhong, a visiting professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law published in China Economic Net on Wednesday.

He said the CPEC is the pilot and flagship project of the Belt and the Road and both China and Pakistan attach great importance to the continuous development of the CPEC.

“Some people with ulterior motives in the international community are deliberately amplifying the impact of the epidemic on the construction of the corridor, because they do not want to see the smooth progress of the construction of the corridor. So, we should keep high vigilance,” he added.

Objectively speaking, in the short term, the construction of the CPEC will be affected to some extent by the serious epidemic. For example, some Chinese technicians of the CPEC projects returned to China during the Chinese Spring Festival, and some of them have to postpone their return to Pakistan because of China’s efforts to control population movements and prevent the spread of the epidemic.

However, the epidemic situation in China has now been effectively controlled. So even if there’s a little impact, it’s temporary. I believe that after the short-term difficulties, the construction of the CPEC will continue to advance smoothly as planned.

He said the first phase of the construction of the CPEC has been very successful. After 22 major energy and transportation infrastructure projects have been put into operation, Pakistan’s socio-economic development will hopefully be on the track of rapid development.

With the successful experience in the first stage, China and Pakistan are jointly promoting the construction of the second stage.

Recently, the Pakistani government has approved the establishment of 10 special economic zones in the four provinces. At the same time, due to the continuous improvement of the business environment in Pakistan, foreign investment in Pakistan has increased significantly.

In the first seven months of the fiscal year 2020, foreign direct investment in Pakistan reached 1.56 billion U.S. dollars with an increase of 66% over the same period of the previous fiscal year.

Now, on one hand, China is strictly controlling the epidemic, and on the other hand, China is speeding up the production resumption. If Pakistan can take effective measures to prevent the spread of the epidemic, I believe the CPEC construction will not be affected.

He said currently, the epidemic situation of new coronavirus in China has been effectively contained, but the prevention and control measures cannot be relaxed.

However, the epidemic is spreading rapidly around the world. The countries with the most severe outbreaks are South Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan. World Health Organization has raised the novel coronavirus global risk level from the previous “high” to “very high”.

At this moment, the epidemic situation in South Asia is not very serious. However, all the countries in South Asia, including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, have confirmed cases.

The epidemic is spreading all over the world and the situation is not optimistic. Therefore, all countries should strengthen prevention and control measures.

Pakistan is now facing two major challenges, one is the global spread of the epidemic, and the other is that neighboring Iran in the west is seeing continuous increase in the number of new novel coronavirus infections.

I have noticed that Pakistan has taken some measures to control the border port with Iran in view of the rapid spread of the epidemic in Iran. An isolation ward has been set up at the border port between Pakistan and Iran and necessary equipment has been installed to take travelers’ temperature.

In addition, Pakistan has installed equipment at major airports across the country, building the first defense line against the coronavirus. I think as long as the government and people of Pakistan attach great importance to prevention, Pakistan can effectively curb the spread of the epidemic.

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