Pakistan, China vow to ‘protect’ CPEC from detractors, adversaries

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Pakistan, China vow to 'protect' CPEC from detractors, adversaries

Beijing, JUN 7: Pakistan and China have vowed to protect the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) from its detractors and adversaries as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif assured Beijing of providing complete security to personnel working on multi-billion projects.

PM Shehbaz is visiting China from June 4 to 8 at the invitation of President Xi Jinping, seeking to upgrade cooperation under the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a key part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.

In a statement, the PM’s Office said during the meeting, the two sides discussed the significance of Gwadar as an important pillar of CPEC and agreed to expedite the timely completion of all related infrastructure projects to transform Gwadar into a regional economic hub.

“They also expressed their firm commitment to protect CPEC from its detractors and adversaries and to upgrade CPEC in the form of enhanced cooperation,” the statement said.

The prime minister also reaffirmed Pakistan’s unflinching resolve to ensure the safety and security of Chinese personnel and projects in Pakistan.

Chinese investment and financial support since 2013 have been key for the South Asian nation’s struggling economy, including the rolling over of loans so that Islamabad is able to meet external financing needs at a time when foreign reserves are critically low.

China has also invested billions in various power projects and road networks in Pakistan under the $65 billion CPEC plan, but the implementation of various projects has slowed in recent months.

‘Unwavering support’
During the talks, the two leaders discussed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations and discussed regional and global developments of mutual interest.

They noted that the Pakistan-China All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership was characterised by mutual trust, shared principles and strategic convergence.

Premier Li congratulated Prime Minister Shehbaz on Pakistan’s election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

The two leaders reaffirmed unwavering support for each other on core issues and expressed continued commitment and support for the high-quality development of CPEC.

They also emphasised the timely completion of all ongoing projects with a special focus on industrial development, agriculture modernisation, Science & Technology and the development of Special Economic Zones for mutually beneficial and socio-economic development of Pakistan.

The two sides agreed to maintain high-level exchanges including strengthening institutional linkages at all tiers and in all spheres of bilateral cooperation.

Pakistan and China will also continue to consult closely on issues of regional and global significance and multilateral fora, especially during the two-year tenure of Pakistan as a non-member of the UNSC.

The delegation-level talks were followed by an MoU signing ceremony, witnessed by Prime Minister Shehbaz and Premier Qiang, where both signed 23 MoUs and agreements deepening cooperation in transport infrastructure, industry, energy, agriculture, media, health, water, socio-economic development and others of mutual interest.

The meeting was followed by an official banquet hosted by Premier Li Qiang in honour of the prime minister.