China’s ‘yes’ to Saudi role

Kingdom-proposed investments to be separate arrangement: Khusro


Staff Report


Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing on Wednesday said China had no objection to Saudi Arabia investing in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

“We welcome investment in CPEC,” the ambassador told journalists at the Quetta Press Club.

Following Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Saudi Arabia last month, the government had announced that the kingdom has signed grant agreements with Pakistan to finance three road infrastructure and energy projects under CPEC.

The government, however, had clarified that Saudi Arabia would not be made part of the $50 billion CPEC framework and the Kingdom-proposed investments would fall under a separate bilateral arrangement.

“The framework between China and Pakistan is bilateral and Saudi Arabia is not entering that framework as a third-party investor, rather the base of CPEC will be broadened and its pace will be expedited,” Minister for Planning and Development Khusro Bakhtiar had said during a press conference.

During his visit to Quetta, Ambassador Jing also addressed the Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industry and met people from a broad cross-section of society.

He stated that after the formation of the new government, CPEC had been reviewed and consensus had been developed over the inclusion of new projects.

“Both sides will keep working on the ongoing projects under CPEC and have them finished as scheduled,” Jing said of the projects that are already underway.

“For the next stage of the project, we will focus on joint ventures and the social sector. We have also decided that more resources should be given to the western provinces,” he revealed.

He expressed the desire to link the mega project to Central Asian states via Afghanistan. He said CPEC would open new vistas of development and prosperity in the region.

The Chinese Ambassador stated that CPEC had entered “a new era” and that jobs would be created for the people of Pakistan through its various projects. He said Balochistan offers numerous opportunities to investors in terms of agriculture, livestock, mines and minerals.

At the chamber of commerce, businessmen urged the Chinese ambassador to establish a Chinese consulate in Quetta to address their business needs. The ambassador promised the business community that their request would be discussed with Chinese higher ups.

No projects scrapped under CPEC: China

Meanwhile, China has brushed aside reports of Pakistan scrapping its railways projects under the CPEC, saying the latter has extended full cooperation for different projects under the flagship project of the CPEC.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang, during an address to media men, said that the incumbent government has assured of its full cooperation regarding all the projects under CPEC. No project would be shelved or scrapped, he said.

He said that reports, adding fuel to the fire of the alleged abolition of the railway project for CPEC, had no substance and were bogus.

The local media needs to deal with such falsified reports with an iron hand, he said.

He reiterated that all the projects under CPEC would be translated into reality. CPEC is an economic and social movement forward. International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also made it clear in its report that Pakistan will have to bear no burden due to the headway in the corridor.