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CPEC project based upon development, connectivity: FO

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office spokesperson has said the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a development and connectivity project, which is aimed at the betterment of the people in the region and beyond.

He was responding to the statement of United States Defence Secretary James Mattis who had said the One Belt, One Road goes through disputed territory.

Speaking to media, the spokesperson said the international community should focus on human rights violations and the use of brute force against innocent Kashmiris in India Occupied Kashmir.

He said efforts were needed to ensure implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kahsmir that called for a UN supervised plebiscite to enable Kashmiris to exercise their right to self-determination.

The US defense secretary’s statement is likely to fray the ties between Pakistan and the US, which have deteriorated sharply following President Donald Trump accusing Islamabad of providing safe haven to “agents of chaos.”

Trump will dispatch his top diplomatic and military advisors to Pakistan in the coming weeks, turning up the heat on nuclear-armed ally Pakistan.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to depart for Pakistan late this month. He will be followed by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, according to US and Pakistani sources.

“We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,” Trump said in an August address.

But in the six weeks since Trump signaled that tougher tone, there have been precious few signs that the calculus in South Asia has changed.

Mattis told Congress this week that he will try “one more time” to “see if we can make this work.”

Not acceptable

“To this point, we have not seen any impact on military-to-military relations,” said one Pentagon official, suggesting any change would not happen after Mattis’s visit.

Visiting Washington, Pakistan’s foreign minister Khawaja Asif appeared unwavering.

He lashed out at “hollow allegations” about Pakistan harboring terrorists as “not acceptable.”

“That is not the way you talk to 70-year-old friends,” Asif said bitterly.

“Instead of accusations and threats we should cooperate with each other for the peace in the region,” he added in confirming Tillerson’s visit.



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