ISLAMABAD: A senior Chinese diplomat says the multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will be completed irrespective of who is at the helm in Islamabad.
“China and Pakistan are determined to complete the CPEC projects in time and no power can dismantle the landmark project. CPEC is a major part of One Belt One Road (OBOR) enterprise and is considered a flagship project of this revolutionary initiative”, said Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Division Director on Asian Affairs Liu Pengfei during a briefing for a Pakistani media delegation.
He said: “We also want Pakistan to seize the opportunity and it must not lose it.”
Pengfei expressed satisfaction with the pace of CPEC projects, adding it would pick up further speed once the infrastructure situation improves in Pakistan.
“We are not concerned about voices — foreign or local — against the CPEC. This project will benefit the people of both countries. We have to ensure its timely completion come what may. We want to let everyone know that China is a brother of Pakistan and stands by it.”
He underlined that the CPEC was not passing through any disputed territory in Pakistan.” He said Pakistan and India should resolve the Kashmir issue through peaceful dialogue.
The diplomat made the ‘disputed territory’ comment in an indirect reference to the United States allegation last month that the CPEC worth $56 billion passed through disputed territory. The US statement echoed Indian claims that CPEC routes in Pakistan’s northern areas are part of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir territory.
He also said that the purpose of CPEC was to bring more prosperity through economic interconnectivity not only in Pakistan but in the whole region and thus other countries in the region are always welcome to join this initiative.
In April 2015, China and Pakistan launched CPEC for energy and infrastructure projects in Pakistan worth $46 billion, linking their economies and underscoring China’s economic ambitions in Asia and beyond.
The plan, which would eclipse U.S. spending in Pakistan over the last decade or so, is part of China’s aim to forge “Silk Road” land and sea ties to markets in the Middle East and Europe.
The two sides had also agreed to strengthen cooperation in civil nuclear energy, space and maritime technology, counter-terrorism and defense.