PAKISTAN and China have reaffirmed that the CPEC, as a pioneering project of the BRI, had entered a new phase of high-quality development and the need to give new impetus to the historic initiative. During extensive dialogue between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Pakistani leadership, the two sides agreed to continue to firmly push forward the construction of CPEC, complete its ongoing projects in a timely manner, and realize its full potential by focusing on socio-economic development, job creation and better livelihood and accelerating cooperation in industrial parks and agriculture.
This renewed commitment is reassuring to people of Pakistan as it comes in the backdrop of reports that progress on the project is slow owing to multiple factors including foreign pressure. Rightly or wrongly, there is an impression that work on ongoing projects have slowed down and there is no launching of any new one despite willingness of the Chinese side to provide necessary finances and expertise for the purpose. However, Prime Minister Imran Khan too has given an assurance that Pakistan was committed to timely completion of projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, hoping that more Chinese companies would make investment in the country. He has also emphasized the need to have CPEC Authority for speedy execution of the projects and it is hoped that the Authority would soon be set up with necessary infrastructure and powers to undertake the onerous task of expediting execution of ongoing projects and including more in different sectors of the economy. This has become an imperative in the backdrop of economic recession and a fall in foreign investment due to various reasons. Lack of required level of economic activity and a cut in developmental expenditure is also complicated the problem of unemployment further, therefore, there was every justification to fully exploit the opportunity offered by China for accelerating the pace of economic development. It is also satisfying that at a time when Pakistan was facing a serious situation on foreign policy front due to Indian actions in Occupied Kashmir, China has expressed its full support of Pakistani position and solidarity with the cause of Kashmiri people. Beijing reiterated that the Kashmir issue was a dispute left from history and should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements. The visit has once again highlighted the fact that China and Pakistan are partners in peace, security and development and they are firm to take their relationship to new heights on the basis of shared interests.