Pak PM Imran to visit China for bilateral talks, investments

PTI, Jan 6, 2022, 1:22 PM IST

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan plans to visit China early next month to further strengthen the all-weather bilateral ties and seek more investments in various projects under the ambitious CPEC, according to a top official.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Khalid Mansoor said this on Wednesday while addressing the launch of the annual Chinese enterprises report.

The annual ‘APCEA Sustainable Development Report 2021’ was unveiled by the Pakistan-China Institute (PCI) and the All-Pakistan Chinese Enterprises Association (APCEA) at a ceremony at the Chinese Embassy here.

Mansoor, who is also the chief of the CPEC authority, said that the Prime Minister, ahead of his China visit, wants to remove all bottlenecks for investors.

The authority was working to remove any bottlenecks which may emerge during the execution of CPEC projects as the “Prime Minister had ordered the removal of 37 regulations for a one window operation for foreign investors”, according to an official statement.

Khan would be taking briefings on the CPEC projects progress every 15 days, according to Mansoor.

The USD 60 billion CPEC connecting China’s resource-rich Xinjiang province with Pakistan’s strategic Gwadar port in Balochistan is regarded as the flagship project of the multi-billion Belt and Road initiative, the pet scheme of Chinese President Xi Jinping aimed at furthering China’s influence globally with Chinese funded infrastructure projects.

The CPEC authority said that Khan has seen the difference being created by the work of Chinese enterprises in Pakistan and the dream of Thar coal energy became a reality due to the CPEC.

Speakers at the event “welcomed the upcoming visit of the Prime Minister to China early February, as it would strengthen the bilateral bond,” according to the statement.

Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong highlighted Chinese investments under the CPEC.

“China had invested over USD 25 billion in Pakistan on CPEC projects generating 75,000 jobs, producing 5500 kw of electricity and building over 500 kms of roads and highways,” the envoy said.

Last year, China and Pakistan held a series of celebrations to reinvigorate their time-tested friendship as it marked the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

“Both sides have supported each other in their fight against the global pandemic and pushed forward high-quality development of the CPEC,” the Chinese envoy said.

Sadiq Sanjrani, Chairman Senate of Pakistan, in his address on the occasion termed “CPEC as a game changer”, adding that the project will create trade linkages and economic opportunities in the whole region.

Chairman of the Senate Defence Committee and PCI chief Mushahid Hussain Sayed said the APCEA report will serve the purpose of presenting facts and nullifying the fiction being propagated by the adversaries of China about CPEC.

Pointing towards the recently passed “Strategic Competition Act” by the US Senate through which the US has allocated USD 300 million for a “Countering China Influence Fund,” he advised companies to brace themselves for any disinformation campaigns.

Sayed criticised the boycott of Beijing Olympics by certain western countries as biased and based on double standards.

Xie Guoxiang, Minister Counsellor of Economic Affairs of the Chinese Embassy, said the trade and economic cooperation between the two countries has been further cemented since the start of CPEC.

Yang Jiandou, Chairman APCEA, said that Chinese enterprises have improved people’s livelihood, implemented eco-friendly development, joined hands with Pakistani counterparts to fight pandemic, and helped in developing local education.

APCEA represents 200 Chinese companies working in Pakistan. The event was attended by over 100 participants, including CEOs of Chinese enterprises.

China and Pakistan view each other as ‘all-weather’ allies and Beijing is Pakistan’s major source of defence equipment.

China has also agreed to provide financial aid to cash-strapped Pakistan to help it improve its deteriorating financial condition.

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