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AJP president says CPEC to bring regional countries closer

AJP president says CPEC to bring regional countries closer

LONDON: Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan, while speaking at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a highly beneficial project for Pakistan, China and potentially for other countries of the region, adding that the projects under the corridor were on developing swiftly and would be completed with success.

Addressing the RUSI researchers and strategic analysts in London, the AJK president said that the CPEC was part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which by now was supported by 68 nations. “China alone is expected to invest $1 trillion in this transnational, transcontinental undertaking,” he informed.

The underlying philosophy, he said, was to invest in regional connectivity and transnational cooperation by leveraging economic geography of adjacent regions. Infrastructure and industrial development, as well as mutually supported energy projects, would foster collaboration, reduce distances and bring nations closer, he observed.

Masood Khan said Chinese President Xi Jinping had suggested that in this new era, existing and the emerging powers, instead of choosing the path of confrontation, should collectively and cooperatively mobilise resources for shared development and prosperity. “Such close liaison among nations would eventually build trust and resolve the prevalent security doubts,” he added.

The AJK president said the revision of CPEC projects was an ongoing process so that necessary adjustments could be made for better sustainability of the projects.

Pakistan, he said, did not give importance to the apprehensions about the so-called “death trap diplomacy”.

“To start with, the volume of Chinese debt ($6 billion) is relatively small in the overall volume of Pakistani debt. The interest rates included the range of zero per cent, concessional loans, preferential buyer’s loans and commercial credit lines, with a long repayment period. Pakistan as a solvent country would repay its debts,” he added.

The AJK president also said that under CPEC, Pakistan and China had taken a geo-economic initiative but it had now become inter-meshed with geopolitical and geostrategic considerations. Pakistan, he added, wanted to maintain a balance in its relations between China, the United States and other western countries. He rejected a notion propagated by some countries that BRI and CPEC were “disruptive initiatives”.