BEIJING: A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman on Tuesday rejected a media report regarding delay in the construction of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), saying the Pakistani government had termed the project a priority for the country.
"We have noticed the relevant reports and also noted that the officials interviewed by the Financial Times have come forward to clarify it," Geng Shuang said during his regular briefing.
He said the Pakistani Ministry of Commerce issued a statement saying that the Pakistani officials quoted by the Financial Times were out of context and distorted the original intention, and the Pakistani side refused to acknowledge the report.
The statement also pointed out that during the recent visit to Pakistan by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the Pakistani side clearly stated that CPEC was a priority for the country, he added.
Geng Shuang said the Pakistan-China relationship was unbreakable, and the Pakistani government’s commitment to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor remained unwavering.
"As far as I know, the Pakistani side has set up a nine-member committee to evaluate the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Project. The purpose is to strengthen the docking with the Chinese side, speed up the construction of the corridor, and make the construction results better to the common people of Pakistan, rather than delaying the construction of the corridor," he added.
He said as everyone knew the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was a major economic cooperation project carried out in response to the needs of the Pakistani side.
" The construction of the economic corridor has a good driving effect on the economic and social development of Pakistan," he added.
The spokesman said at present, there were 22 cooperative projects under the framework of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, nine of which had been completed and 13 were under construction , with a total investment of 19 billion US dollars, driving the annual economic growth of Pakistan by 1 to 2 percentage points, and creating 70,000 jobs for Pakistan.
"These results are real and obvious to all," he added.
He said during the visit of State Councilor Wang Yi to Pakistan, the President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Pakistan's new government stated that the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor was a landmark project of economic cooperation between the two countries and would continue to bring tangible benefits to the Pakistani people.
The new Pakistani government was committed to comprehensively deepening the construction of the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor and was willing to cooperate fully with China to build this project, he added.
He said during the visit of State Councilor Wang Yi, China and Pakistan reached a new important consensus on better promoting the construction of the corridor.
The two sides agreed to negotiate and determine the future development path and cooperation direction of the corridor according to the next economic and social development priorities of the Pakistani side and the needs of the people.
Focus on accelerating industrial cooperation and construction of people's livelihood projects, and gradually extending to the Western region, so that more Pakistani people can benefit from the corridor. The two sides also agreed that corridor construction can absorb third-party participation and benefit the entire region.
"Finally, I would like to stress once again that the 'One Belt, One Road' initiative is open, inclusive, open and transparent, and pursues the principle of sharing, building and sharing. In the past five years, the 'Belt and Road Initiative' has become an important international cooperation platform and an important international public product for promoting multilateralism and economic globalization. At present, more than 130 countries and international organizations have signed 'One Belt and One Road' cooperation documents with China.
If the 'Belt and Road' is really geopolitically considered as some people have described, facing many risk challenges and causing various crisis traps, then it will not be so popular, it will not be so sought after, and progress will not be so. Fast, the results will not be so much. All in all, we welcome all like-minded countries to participate in the construction of the 'Belt and Road' to jointly promote regional connectivity, development and prosperity, and better benefit the people of all countries," he concluded.