*BEIJING - China and Pakistan remain on the same page in regard to the Belt and Road Initiative mega-project and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).*
In the last few days, top-level consultations have resulted in even better synergy between the two countries, dispelling any doubts about continuity in government policies, according to an article of Chinese media website here on Saturday.
Remaining as top priority no matter which political party comes to power, the CPEC is a bilateral contract respected by all successive governments.
In Islamabad on a three-day visit last week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met Prime Minister Imran Khan, who expressed his absolute commitment to promoting China-Pakistan ties just as he did in his very first post-election victory speech.
Stating that the CPEC is an icon of bilateral economic cooperation, he added that Pakistan “stands ready to work with China” on developing it.
Meanwhile, reaffirming China’s all-weather strategic cooperative partnership with Pakistan, Wang Yi addressed the latest issue troubling Western media by saying:
“The CPEC has not inflicted a debt burden on Pakistan; rather, when these projects get completed and enter into operation, they will unleash huge economic benefits…and these will create considerable returns to the Pakistani economy.”
Highlighting the fact that Pakistan’s 47 per cent debt level had been incurred due to previous loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Wang Yi reiterated that, not only is the CPEC helping to create around 70,000 jobs in Pakistan, it’s also promoting overall national growth.
Instead of imposing an additional burden, CPEC projects have boosted Pakistan’s economic growth by one or two percentage points every year and developed the energy and infrastructure sectors from the very first phase. Out of the 22 projects carried out under the CPEC so far, only four involve concessional loans, while the rest are either aid or direct Chinese investment.
Consequently, the CPEC cannot be blamed, as, focusing on sustainability, in the long run, these projects can only bring excellent economic benefits.