BEIJING: China wants Pakistan to seize the opportunity provided by CPEC and will complete the project irrespective of which party runs the government in Islamabad, a Chinese foreign ministry official said on Thursday.
“The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a showcase project of China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative and very critical for economic development of Pakistan. Being a sincere friend of Pakistan, China wants Pakistan to seize this opportunity,” Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Division Director on Asian Affairs Liu Pengfei said during a briefing held here for a Pakistani media delegation.
He underscored that China was closely monitoring all developments in and outside Pakistan and knew that some elements were raising voice against its flagship project, CPEC. It was a natural process and China was not afraid of any such development, but was determined to complete this project because it was beneficial for both Pakistan and China, besides other partnering countries, he said.
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The diplomat said Pakistan and China had very friendly relations so it did not matter which political party formed the government in Pakistan. China would complete CPEC, which was the first project of its long-term strategic initiative OBOR, he said.
He highlighted that 19 projects (out of total 50) of $18 billion had already been initiated. Though China was satisfied with the pace of the CPEC projects, it wanted to expedite the development to ensure early benefits, he said.
However, he said the infrastructure in Pakistan was not adequate to support the CPEC projects. Once the infrastructure situation in Pakistan would improve, China would extend more cooperation and initiate other projects under CPEC.
Liu praised speedy construction of the Sahiwal Coal Power Plant and said the pace of the project had even surpassed China. He disclosed that China was planning to begin construction of the Gwadar International Airport and Expressway this year as all hiccups had been removed and paperwork completed for the purpose.
Govt to ensure CPEC benefits reach FATA
He underlined that CPEC was a shared endeavour of Pakistani and Chinese governments. It was the result of joint efforts of the leaderships of both countries that this mega project was being executed at such a fast pace, he said. He said Punjab would benefit the most from this project, besides other provinces of Pakistan.
Replying to a question, he said China had a clear stance that Kashmir was a complex issue which could only be resolved through dialogue. However, China would stand by Pakistan in all circumstances, he stressed. Speaking on the occasion, the Pakistani media delegation’s leader said people-to -people interaction would strengthen cultural ties between the two countries.