China lauds Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s remarks on CPEC project

China lauds Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s remarks on CPEC project

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Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Zhao Lijian (Photo Credit - Reuters)

Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Zhao Lijian (Photo Credit – Reuters)

Beijing [China], May 25 (ANI): China on Tuesday said it appreciated Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent remarks on how the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project will bring economic progress not only to Pakistan but to the entire region.

Khan had while chairing a recent high-level meeting stated that the CPEC will bring economic progress not only to Pakistan but to the entire region.

During a regular briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, “We have noted the relevant remarks by Prime Minister Imran Khan and we appreciate it,” reported Geo News

He said that the Chinese side is having a discussion with third parties, including Afghanistan on the extension of the flagship project.

The spokesperson said that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was an open and inclusive international economic cooperation initiative that was dedicated to improving connectivity and achieving common development, reported Geo News.

He added, “The CPEC as pioneering projects of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has made important and major progress in infrastructure, energy, ports, and industrial parks.”

The Chinese official said that they are also extending it to regional countries, including Afghanistan. This will not only boost faster economic development in Pakistan but also regional connectivity, reported Geo News.

Lijian said that China would like to work with Pakistan for the high-quality development of the CPEC and extend it to regional countries, improve people’s well-being, and play a bigger role in regional connectivity and economic integration.

Responding to a specific question on third-party participation in the CPEC framework, he informed that China was having a discussion with third parties, including Afghanistan, on the extension of CPEC, reported Geo News.

The two sides were having consultations through diplomatic channels, he said and added, “We notice that Afghanistan is importing and exporting goods through Gwadar and Karachi ports. High-speed highways are also being extended to Afghanistan.”

However, in Pakistan, the hype created by the government through projecting the CPEC as a panacea for all problems is rapidly losing steam. Struggling local businessmen lament that Chinese investors are cornering key domestic industries, state assets and businesses to the detriment of Pakistani players and interests.

Concerns of local businesses have parallels in the working-class population as well. The creation of jobs for the local youth is an important yardstick for assessing the benefit of any foreign investment in a developing country. However, the CPEC has been a visible failure on this count.

Pakistani business owners and workers are wary of the Chinese style of functioning, which rarely involves partnerships or joint ventures with local businesses. Chinese investors prefer to establish fully controlled businesses that would mean further erosion in the status of local businesses and jobs. (ANI)

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