Pakistan Rejects Report Of Renegotiating Economic Corridor With China

Pakistan rejected a media report that Imran Khan's newly elected government plans to renegotiate the agreements reached under China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, and said that Islamabad remains committed to the successful implementation of the 'economic corridor', which they call 'CPEC'

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Pakistan Rejects Report Of Renegotiating Economic Corridor With China

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met Pak Prime Minister Imran Khan during his 3-day visit

Islamabad: 

The 'all-weather' friendship with China is a cornerstone of Pakistan's foreign policy, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said as he pledged to implement the controversy-hit $50 billion economic corridor through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, extending till Balochistan's Gwadar.

Pakistan, on Tuesday, rejected a media report that Imran Khan's newly elected government plans to renegotiate the agreements reached under China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative or BRI, and said that Islamabad remains committed to the successful implementation of the 'economic corridor' passing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The two countries, which do not share a border and are connected only because of Pakistan's illegal occupation of PoK, pledged to complete what it calls the 'China-Pakistan Economic Corridor' or 'CPEC'. The announcement was made on Sunday, when Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan and expressed their common desire to further enhance the bilateral strategic partnership.

Mr Wang, who arrived in Islamabad on a three-day visit on Friday, met Imran Khan in Islamabad. A high-level delegation accompanied him.

"Foreign Minister underscored the significance of the CPEC for the mutual benefit of the people of both countries," Imran Khan's Office said in a statement.

Mr Wang conveyed the desire of the Chinese leadership to work with the new government in Pakistan to further enhance the strategic partnership between Islamabad and Beijing. He underscored the significance of China-Pakistan relationship, which he said, served as a model of friendship in interstate relations.

The two countries pledged to jointly promote the construction of 'CPEC', and push forward the development of bilateral ties.

Pakistan's new president Arif Alvi said friendship with China is Pakistan's national policy, and over the past more-than-five-decades, Pakistan has always cherished the friendship with China, which is based on mutual benefit and is deeply rooted in the hearts of the people of both countries.

Mr Wang said the bilateral relations and friendship between China and Pakistan remain unchanged despite the changing domestic and international situation, adding that his visit was aimed at getting in touch with the new Pakistani government so as to continue and facilitate the bilateral cooperation in all fields.

Mr Wang said China is willing to join hands with Pakistan to make the bilateral relations a model of good neighbourliness and friendship, a pillar of regional peace and stability and an example of joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

He also conveyed the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang for an official visit to Imran Khan.

Mr Khan reiterated that Pakistan's friendship with China is a cornerstone of Pakistan's Foreign Policy. "(Pakistan's) Prime Minister reiterated that the government is committed to the implementation of the CPEC," according to the statement released by his office.

During the meeting, both regional and global issues were discussed, the statement read.

Earlier, Mr Wang met his counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Mr Wang's visit came amidst reports of unease in Beijing over how the new Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government led by Imran Khan would approach the $50 billion Chinese investments in various projects under the 'CPEC'.

Mr Khan had, in the past, criticised former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for the lack of transparency and corruption in projects under 'CPEC'.

Newly-appointed Finance Minister Asad Umar too, promised to bring about transparency to 'CPEC' projects, whose details remained a closely guarded secret.

After the meeting between Mr Wang and Imran Khan, the Financial Times reported that Pakistan's advisor on commerce, Abdul Razzak Dawood as saying that the multi-billion dollar economic corridor had put local companies at a disadvantage and that parts of the flagship project can be renegotiated or even frozen for a year.

Later, Pakistan's Ministry Of Commerce and Textile rejected the report and issued a statement saying that the Financial Times article was "based on a statement taken out of context."

India has protested to China over the so-called 'China-Pakistan Economic Corridor', which is being built through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, which is part of India's northernmost state Jammu and Kashmir.

The 'CPEC', launched in 2015, is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking China's resource-rich Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with Balochistan's Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.
 

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