Pakistan, US.working to promote mutually beneficial ties: Masood Khan

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WASHINGTON,  May 23 (APP):Pakistan and the United States are engaged in promoting shared objectives through a dialogue process and working on an agenda that is mutually beneficial for the two countries, Ambassador Masood Khan has said.

“We are looking towards the future with confidence,”  the Pakistani envoy said in an interview with China Global Television Network-America’s new show, The Heat.

The two countries, he said, had worked on “perception management” which was critical after the “messy” war on terror, and using the space available given the geostrategic complexities of the region to build a stand-alone relationship. “I think we have succeeded to a great extent, and will enhance this space.”

On Pak-China relations, Masood Khan observed that the relationship was productive, adding “Our relationship with China is not at expense of our friendship with the United States.”

Terming China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project “very significant”, the ambassador said that after completing early harvest projects, the two countries realized that the mega project should also have a holistic programme, including  investments in tourism, technology, vocational training, agriculture and people-to-people exchanges.

“Up to now we’ve already disbursed about $25 billion and by 2030, we will be able to complete the remaining projects,” he said.

“Since it is the flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative, so we have reputational commitment to this project so that it succeeds under all circumstances,” he added.

Discussing China’s broader role and multilateralism, Masood Khan underscored the need for a level playing field for all the countries so that they can grow together. “They can avert wars and confrontation and opt for peace through dialogue and diplomacy,” he said.

He said he was confident that the complementarities between the Western bloc and China would strengthen in the times to come which would benefit the developing world,  including Pakistan.

On Pakistan’s economic challenges, the ambassador observed that the country had ridden through the storm of 2022 and now the economy was stable.

There was increased focus on IT, agriculture, renewable energy and extractive industries, he said, adding Pakistan was undertaking massive reforms including streamlining the tax regime, making the energy sector more efficient and privatizing non-performing state-owned enterprises.

“Cumulatively, we have a bright outlook and a bright future economically,”  the ambassador said.

On Prime Minister’s forthcoming visit to China, the ambassador said the agenda would include strengthening defence ties, deepening economic cooperation and investing in cultural exchanges.