China-Pak relation win-win cooperation, mutually beneficial: Chinese envoy

Sajjad Hussain

Islamabad, Nov 22 (PTI) The relation of China and Pakistan are based on 'win-win cooperation' and mutually beneficial for both the nations, Chinese envoy to Pakistan Yao Jing said on Friday.

Yao's statement came as the US on Thursday warned Islamabad against China's ambitious China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, claiming it is going to take a toll on Pakistan's economy.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking China's resource-rich Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with Pakistan's strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.

The CPEC was launched in 2015 when President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan and it now envisages investment of over USD 60 billion in different projects of development in Pakistan.

Addressing the 5th CPEC Media Forum in Islamabad, Yao said China had always come forward to assist Pakistan in need without any political or government differences.

'Pak-China relations were based on 'win-win cooperation' and were mutually beneficial for both countries. If Pakistan was in need, China would never ask it to repay its loans in time, whereas, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is mainly governed by the West, was strict in its repayment system,' he said.

Yao also questioned the US for suspending its aid promised to Pakistan.

'Why the US suspended its aid promised for Pakistan only because of political priorities,” he asked.

The Trump administration on Thursday urged Pakistan to ask 'tough questions' to China on the CPEC, claiming it is going to take a toll on Pakistan's economy.

US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells during a policy address on Thursday said Pakistan would face long-term economic damage with little return if China kept pursuing the CPEC.

The top US diplomat for South Asia said the CPEC would profit only Beijing, adding that the United States offered a better model.

Yao dismissed the Washington's warning to Islamabad over Beijing’s giant infrastructure push which was heralded as a game-changer by both Asian countries.

Expressing astonishment over the US diplomat's statement of higher tariff in power plants, established under CPEC, Yao said that he himself had earlier briefed Wells about the tariff structure of these power plants, which he added, was the lowest among all the countries benefiting from China’s electricity.

'In 2013, when Chinese companies were establishing power plants in Pakistan, where was the US? Why it did not invest in Pakistan's power sector despite knowing that the country was in dire need of electricity,” he asked.

Commenting on US allegation of corruption in CPEC projects, Yao said it was easy to allege without presenting evidence.

Yao said he discussed the matter with a number of concerned stakeholders including the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), but did not find even a single evidence of corruption in any CPEC project.

“My dear American colleague, before alleging anyone, please ensure that you have enough evidence,” he added.

The Chinese envoy also refuted the US claim over providing less employment opportunities to Pakistani workers in CPEC projects, saying over 75,000 Pakistani workers had been provided jobs in different projects thus far and that by 2030, around 2.3 million jobs were expected to be created in CPEC projects.

'I would be happier to see more investment coming from the US in Pakistan,” he remarked.

Yao said China was determined to build capacities of Pakistani businessmen and industrialists to boost productivity in the country, which would ultimately help in increasing the exports of Pakistan.

Under the CPEC, he said China would provide industrial cooperation to Pakistan and for this purpose over two dozen leading Chinese and Pakistani manufacturers and industrialists were engaged to boost production and exports of Pakistan. PTI SH RUP RUP