Chinese Ambassador hints at start of next phase of CPEC, $1 billion grant for Pakistan

Chinese Ambassador hints at start of next phase of CPEC, $1 billion grant for Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing said on Wednesday that the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China would take the relations between the two countries into a ‘new era’ of development and prosperity.

Addressing the participants during the launch of a book, ‘CPEC – A Precursor to Regional Economic Growth and Stability’, published by Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), Ambassador Yao Jing said that Pakistan and China are entering a ‘new stage of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)’ under which the areas of cooperation would be expanded.

He said the leadership-level discussion on the next phase of CPEC would take place during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to China, where he would attend the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Forum next week.

The book contained chapters written by both Pakistani and Chinese scholars. It highlights the opportunities and potential of the economic corridor, addresses the misperceptions, and brings back the focus of the discourse from CPEC’s geostrategic and political implications to economic and development aspects.

The book, containing 12 chapters, has been edited by SVI President Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema.

“The new phase is based on a stronger private sector involvement, including the activation of special economic zones, social sector cooperation, and the involvement of third country partners,” the envoy stated. “An agreement on social sector cooperation would be signed during PM Khan’s upcoming visit to China.”

He said the social sector cooperation would cover six areas including education, health, agriculture, water and irrigation, poverty alleviation, and human resource development. “As many as 27 projects are being initiated with the Chinese grant of $1 billion.”

Ambassador Jing said that both countries had agreed to involve other countries in the mega-project, adding that all countries are welcome to join the development of Pakistan’s economy.