With a new government taking the helm in the past month or so, there were various concerns and misconceptions being spread about the fate of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Recently, an article was published in a newspaper, which stated that Pakistan was rethinking its stance about the mega-project.
However, this article was refuted by both Pakistani and Chinese officials. A statement was issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Textile to reject the article, particularly the title. It further stated, ‘The statements attributed to Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Textile have been taken out of context and distorted,…’ and that CPEC is a ‘national priority for the government’.
In addition, a statement was also issued by the Chinese Government, reiterating that there is a ‘firm consensus between China and Pakistan that CPEC is a mutually beneficial project and both governments will carry it forward according to the needs of Pakistan.’
With these official statements being issued by both parties, it is clear that CPEC is not going to suffer in any way under the new government. This fact was further cemented by the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s three-day visit to Pakistan. In this visit, he was assured by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi that CPEC is to remain a top priority for Pakistan.
Both countries expressed their support for each other, especially in regard to this USD 60 billion project and discussed how other countries could also be involved to develop and strengthen it further.
At a conference held during this visit, Mr Wang rejected the general misconception that CPEC would compound Pakistan’s foreign debt and would affect the domestic job market. He expressed China’s desire for regional cooperation and development. He quoted statistics which proved his statement, as since the inception of CPEC, Pakistan’s economy had been going up by 1-2% every year and over 70,000 jobs had been created, with more to look forward to at various stages of the project.
The Foreign Office confirmed the commitment of the two countries towards bilateral cooperation and how socioeconomic development under CPEC was a major part of the close relationship between Pakistan and China.
So, here was a rundown of how rumours and misconceptions about CPEC are completely inaccurate and it is an economic game-changer for Pakistan, and a huge boost for the region. Hence, it remains a priority, despite the change of leadership.