China lauds CPEC China on Tuesday reiterated that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an important flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which also offers a framework of cooperation with other countries and regions, just days ahead of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Beijing.
Khan will arrive in the Chinese capital on Thursday for a four-day visit during which he will attend the Second Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation from April 25 to 27.
“We welcome Prime Minister Imran Khan’s participation in the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in China. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an important flagship project of the Belt and Road cooperation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang told reporters in Beijing.
“With the joint efforts of our two countries, the CPEC has yielded a lot of concrete outcomes and delivered tangible benefits to our peoples. We have every confidence that China and Pakistan working together will make steadier and sustained progress under the CPEC and more benefits will be felt by the two peoples,” he added.
“The cooperation under the CPEC, exemplary as it is, provides valuable experience for us in the Belt and Road cooperation with other countries and regions,” Geng concluded.
During his four-day visit, the Pakistani Prime Minister will also hold bilateral meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, Pakistan’s The Dawn newspaper reported citing a statement from the country’s Foreign Office.
Khan is also expected to sign several MoUs and agreements to enhance bilateral cooperation.
“Prime Minister (Imran Khan) is going to China and… our leaders jointly working with him will elaborate the next stage of (the) CPEC,” Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing was quoted by The Dawn as saying at a launch event of a book titled, “CPEC – A Precursor to Regional Economic Growth and Stability” in Islamabad last week.
Yao said that the new stage of the CPEC was about broadening the area of cooperation under the CPEC and it would have three pillars – the greater involvement of private sector; social sector cooperation; and the involvement of third-party partners in CPEC projects.
“All countries are welcome to participate in Pakistan’s economic development,” the Chinese envoy said, adding that CPEC projects “are inclusive, open and all-embracing.”
Yao’s remarks are significant amid an overwhelming desire on Pakistan’s part to include Saudi Arabia as a key partner in CPEC. Riyadh has already signed an agreement to build a 10-billion-U.S.-dollar refinery in Pakistan’s Gwadar port, which is being developed with Chinese funding as part of the CPEC. China has lauded Saudi investment in the project.