China encourages Pakistan to attract foreign funding for CPEC to alleviate concerns of too dependent on Beijing: Report

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BEIJING - China has encouraged Pakistan to attract foreign investment from multiple sources to alleviate concerns that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would make the latter economically too dependent on it.

“The CPEC mega project is mainly funded by China at present. There are worries within Pakistan that the CPEC will make the country economically too dependent on China . If Chinese and foreign enterprises can cooperate on the project, that will help alleviate the concerns,” according to an article published in Chinese newspaper Global Times on Thursday.

A media report that Pakistan, under Chinese pressure, had turned down a cheaper loan offer from a third country for infrastructure projects is unconvincing, it observed. The economic corridor is not a bilateral project, but an open initiative. China has repeatedly emphasized that it invites and welcomes more countries to join in. Under the CPEC , China and Qatar have jointly developed the Port Qasim plant, a coal-fired power plant at Port Qasim in Karachi.

The newspaper remarked that the CPEC , a flagship project of the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative, is aimed at enhancing interconnectivity between China and Pakistan and promoting common development. China will invest a total amount of $62 billion in Pakistan for power plants, roads and railroad construction to give its infrastructure a much-needed upgrade as it seeks to emerge from years of political instability.

However, some countries have continued to hype China’s strategic intentions behind the CPEC and are hesitant to join in the project as their concerns. They are not excluded from the CPEC by China and Pakistan, but by themselves.

China is facing the same threats as its Western counterparts when investing in Pakistan, but China has not flinched. The Balochistan Province that the economic corridor passes through poses numerous security and political challenges.

China is trying hard to explore new ways to promote cooperation, improve the investment environment, and curb the spread of extremism through economic development. This will not only benefit Pakistan, but also other foreign investors.

All in all, China’s investment in the CPEC actually takes into consideration the all-round development of the region, including anti-terrorism. It will also provide basic infrastructural facilities to other foreign investors and encourage them to invest in Pakistan.

Reports that Pakistan has turned down investments from third countries under China’s pressure is empty rhetoric. - APP

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