The government of Pakistan rejects the recent concerns raised by the US over CPEC. The PakistanTehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government continues its efforts to dispel the United States’ concerns over the ongoing project.
Earlier, the Chinese Ambassador in Islamabad Yao Jing rejected the criticism of CPEC by US Acting Secretary for South Asia Alice Wells, who said that Pakistan faced long-term economic damage with little return if China keeps pursuing its giant infrastructure push.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Islamabad had categorically rejected Washington’s claims on CPEC and its impact on Pakistan’s economy.
While talking to reporters in Multan on Sunday, FO said that “We do not agree with the [American] assessment and we have conveyed as much. In fact, we have expedited CPEC projects and have initiated the second phase of its implementation”.
The foreign minister further stressed that China’s share in Pakistan’s overall debt burden was minimal and that the mega project would only have a positive impact.
“Pakistan’s total debt burden is $74 billion of which CPEC is only $4.9bn. CPEC is a gamechanger for the entire region and there is no restriction for any country, including the US, to invest in the special economic zones being established under CPEC”, Qureshi added.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan says CPEC a top priority for Pakistan
In a series of tweets, Firdous Ashiq Awan said that economic zones established under CPEC would generate more job opportunities for Pakistanis and help address one of the country’s most pressing challenges.
Firdous said the friendship between Pakistan and China had withstood the test of time and cherished Beijing for its unwavering support over the years.
She also referred to the commercial loans Pakistan has taken from China and said that a reduction in the figure would be witnessed in the years to come.
Asad Umar Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives debunks the myth of CPEC ‘debt trap’
Asad Umar on Saturday said China-Pakistan relations were not against anyone and the concerns of US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Alice Wells about the CPEC were misplaced.
“The CPEC projects are not a burden on Pakistan’s economy. Instead, they have provided a strong basis for industrial growth in the times to come,” Asad Umar said while addressing a news conference in Karachi on Saturday.
“There is no controversy on the CPEC projects. All provinces are on board and foresee a positive impact of these projects on the economy in the long-run,” he added.
The unity between Pakistan and China is against no nations [including the US],” he said.
“We welcome US investment offer in Pakistan”, he further added. “US investors were, are, and would be welcome to invest in Pakistan. They have already been investing in Pakistan and earn handsome profits.”
He also reminded that Pakistan’s friendly relations with China remained higher than the Himalayas and deeper than the Arabian Sea which would continue to grow.
While endorsing Ambassador Yao’s statement that China has always stood by Pakistan in times of need, Asad Umer added, “China has helped us at times when no one else was with us”.
“The friendly relationship would be strengthened further. The [relationship with China] would never be rolled back”, he said.
“The IMF [International Monetary Fund] has agreed CPEC … is not against Pakistan. Nothing is left hidden on the CPEC projects,” the planning minister said.
Umar further said that Alice Wells has made a wrong analysis, that the loans extended under CPEC were of short-term maturity and that they were expensive loans.
“CPEC projects have added only $4.9 billion in foreign loans to Pakistan’s total debt pile of $74 billion. “This [CPEC debt] is less than 7% of the total debt,” he added.