China castigates US reservations about CPEC
Embassy official says Beijing has never harped on ‘do more’ mantra
China has rubbished the US ‘reservations’ about China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the US senior envoy Alice Wells’ remarks against the Sino-Pak friendship.
“This is another doomed attempt to defame Sino-Pak relations and the CPEC. We are firmly opposed to it. The day marked the 69th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan. The two countries established and consolidated an all-weather friendship,” a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy said on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Wells told the media that the US has serious reservations about CPEC and China should review its loan conditions for Pakistan after the outbreak of COVID-19.
The Chinese official said: “We respect each other and support each other. We cooperate for common prosperity. We work together to promote regional peace and stability.
“In the current fight against COVID-19, China and Pakistan stand together, and China donated medical equipment and materials of more than $55 million to Pakistan. We take Pakistan as an equal partner and never asked Pakistan to do more.
“We support Pakistan’s own model of development and never intervene its domestic affairs. We highlight Pakistan’s responsible role in regional affairs and never exert pressure.”
The spokesman termed CPEC an important cooperation project between the governments of China and Pakistan. China, he said, had always adhered to the principles of mutual benefit, win-win cooperation, openness and transparency.
The planning and implementation of the projects, he added, were carried out by the two sides through thorough consultations based on equality and scientific study.The Chinese companies under the CPEC were all leading companies in their respective sectors and operate in full compliance with local laws and regulations.
Since its implementation, the CPEC had brought $25 billion in direct investment and created more than 75,000 jobs for Pakistan, he added.
China, he said, had been the major source of FDI for Pakistan in the past five consecutive years. While according to the BOI, the FDI from the USA to Pakistan was a bit over $1billion between 2012 and 2019.
The spokesman said since the COVID-19 outbreak, there was zero infection on CPEC projects due to strict measures taken by the both sides.
“The Chinese companies have not suspended construction nor have they laid-off a single local staff. The CPEC projects have secured local employment and kept contributing to Pakistan’s economy.”
He said the energy projects were generating 1/3rd of the electricity for Pakistan now. The Phase II of KKH was almost ready for traffic. The integrated test and commissioning for the Lahore Orange Line had been successfully completed. The construction of the new airport in Gwadar entered into the second phase. Gwadar had become an economic hub for Balochistan.
All Chinese companies working for the CPEC had generously donated medical assistance to Pakistan in the current difficult situation, he added.
Over 20,000 Pakistani students, he said, were studying in China on scholarships provided by the Chinese government and universities.
In the next stage of the CPEC, the spokesman said both sides would strengthen the cooperation on healthcare, industrial development, agriculture and education. The CPEC would give a new impetus to Pakistan’s economic revival even in the post COVID-19 period.
He said China knew the impact of the COVID-19 on Pakistan’s economy and was sparing no effort to help Pakistan address the challenge.
The spokesman said according to the State Bank of Pakistan, its debt from multilateral institutions amounts to about 47% of its total external debt, while loans from the CPEC were only $5.8 billion, 5.22% of the Pakistan’s total debt. It had no pressure on Pakistan at all.
Recently, he said, the G20 members adopted a Debt Service Suspension Initiative for the Poorest Countries. China supported Pakistan to be included and was ready to provide relief. China would never force Pakistan to pay back the debts and China’s loans had no strings attached.
The spokesman said China and Pakistan were cooperating to prevent and control the epidemic. China sent a group of experts to Pakistan to combat the locust plague. China had donated 300 tons of malathion and 50 air-powered high-efficiency remote sprayers to Pakistan in that regard.
“We are ready to extend more help,” he said and pointed out that the CPFTA Phase-II had taken effect from January 1, 2020.
The level of trade liberalization between the two countries, he said, had increased with the tariffs further reduced.
In addition, he added, China and Pakistan were working together to promote the peace process in Afghanistan and provide humanitarian assistance to the Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
He said, “China also opposes the politicization of the International Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and is working with Pakistan to strengthen its capacity.
“We have no intention to comment on the Pakistan-US relations, but we hope the USA can show basic respect to the choice by China and Pakistan,” the spokesman said.
“We also hope the US will abandon its cold war and zero-sum mentality, fulfill its responsibilities, extend due respect and give concrete assistance to Pakistan. We need no teachers, especially a teacher like the US.”