China has backed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s “New Pakistan” initiative and said the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects being undertaken in the country will play an important role in Pakistan’s economic development.
China’s Minister of International Development Song Tao met Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday and assured Beijing’s support to Pakistan at all regional and international fora.
He also assured Khan of China’s support in his agenda of poverty alleviation, fight against corruption and agricultural development, an official statement said on Tuesday.
The $60 billion CPEC is the flagship venture of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping aimed at enhancing Beijing’s influence around the world through China-funded infrastructure projects.
India has opposed the CPEC project and protested to China as it is being laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
“He (Song Tao) termed CPEC as a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative, which would make significant contributions towards building a New Pakistan,” the statement said.
Underscoring the importance attached by the leadership and people of China to Pakistan-China relations, Song said exchanges between political parties would help in sharing ideas to achieve common and shared development.
During the meeting, Khan said that the “all-weather friendship” between Pakistan and China held particular significance to the people of Pakistan.
Khan will embark on his first visit to China on November 3 during which he is expected to meet President Xi and other top leaders and discuss ways to boost defence ties as well as the controversy-hit CPEC projects.
Pakistan has recently slashed the Chinese investment in railways by $2 billion citing a huge burden of loans.
“This (visit) would provide an opportunity to underscore the importance of the ‘all-weather strategic cooperative partnership’ between the two countries,” Khan was quoted as saying.
Describing President Xi as “a great statesman”, he said the people of Pakistan have great admiration for him.