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Beijing welcomes Riyadh in CPEC

Source: Express Tribune
By Mohammad Zafar
Published: October 11, 2018

Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing has said China has no objection over inclusion of Saudi Arabia and other countries in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects and would welcome Riyadh’s investment in Pakistan.

“We will welcome Saudi Arabia and other countries’ investment in CPEC projects. China wants to expand CPEC up to central Asian states via Afghanistan,” the Chinese ambassador said while speaking to businessmen and journalists at two separate functions in Quetta on Wednesday.

Chinese ambassador also confirmed that CPEC projects are being revisited in view of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led new government’s vision, adding that new development projects will be included in the project with consensus.

Yao said reviewing the CPEC agreement is natural as the new Pakistani government which came into power after the July 25 general election has its own agenda and vision.

The envoy said the new Pakistani government wants to give all attention to socio-economic sector and in reviewing of CPEC agreement the desire of the Pakistan’s new government would be considered.

“Both China and Pakistan governments have agreed to further expand the CPEC,” he said, adding that taking decision with mutual understanding and consensus is part of the CPEC agreement.

He said both the governments have decided to continue work on ongoing projects launched under CPEC in Pakistan and particularly Balochistan and these projects would be completed on time.

Yao said Pakistan and China have very cordial relations since long; they are not only partners in CPEC but have lots of other ties and projects in which they are helping each other. “China and Pakistan are strategic partners,” he said.

He said that the main objectives of CPEC include establishing road-network, construction of highways and motorways, power generation and developing agriculture sector.

Yao Jing said in the next phase, China will focus on joint ventures and will give attention to socio-economic sector, which is also vision of the new Pakistani government.

“Under CPEC it was decided that more resources would be provided to the western provinces of Pakistan. It is our desire to link the mega project to Central Asian states via Afghanistan and under CPEC will open new ways of development and prosperity in the entire region,” he said.

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

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 high-ups.

Responding to a question about Balochistan’s share in CPEC, Yao Jing said Balochistan is an important part of CPEC and the second phase of the project would be more important for Balochistan.

He said that though entire Pakistan is equal for his country, China wants to work for the development of different sectors of Balochistan on priority. “China will help in developing agriculture, industry and other sectors in Balochistan,” he said.

The envoy said he is very much inspired with the vision of new federal and Balochistan governments as they want to develop socio-economic sector. “Balochistan should be main beneficiary of CPEC. Chinese investors would find out new trade and investment opportunities in Balochistan,” he added.

Yao said Balochistan has great potential in mineral resources, mining, livestock, and fisheries and there is need to work for the promotion of these sectors. He said China will extend all help and assistance to the local people for sending fruit, vegetable and seafood to international market.

He said he had a meeting with Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal and observed that new provincial government is more interested in the development of the province and providing maximum facilities to its people.

To a question, he said the Chinese universities are open for Pakistani students and these universities offer scholarships in March every year and students could apply for admission online. However, he said, Balochistan students would be provided assistance in applying for admission to the Chinese universities.

URL: https://tribune.com.pk/story/1823109/1-beijing-welcomes-riyadh-cpec/

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CPEC debt servicing to commence in year 2021, says official

Source: Profit by Pakistan Today
By: Mian Abrar
Date: 11 October 2018

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) related debt servicing to China is to commence from the year 2021, while the benefits of these investments to the Pakistani economy far outweigh the scheduled payments.

Talking to Pakistan Today, the focal person of the CPEC project said that CPEC does not impose any immediate burden with respect to loan repayments and energy sector outflows.

“CPEC outflows (debt servicing to China) would start from the year 2021 and spread over 20 to 25 years with a maximum in the year 2024 and 2025. The resultant benefits of these investments to the Pakistan economy would far outweigh these outflows (debt servicing),” the official said.

Meanwhile, another official linked to the CPEC project said that only one project under the CPEC loan umbrella – the Pakistan China Optical Fibre Project, had matured.

“We don’t have to pay anything to China immediately. The debt servicing would start by 2021 and since these loans are long-term and concessional in nature, Pakistan would not face any issues in paying outflows. However, the benefits of these projects to Pakistan would be manifold,” the official said.

When asked about the recent western media reports about debt burden on Pakistan, the spokesman rubbished the same and said that the western media’s recent reports regarding CPEC are based on incorrect information, distorted facts and one-sided opinions of individuals.

“CPEC finances are divided into government to government loans, investment and grants. The infrastructure sector is being developed through interest-free loans,” the source said.

Asked whether a parallel could be drawn between CPEC and the Chinese overseas investment in Sri Lanka or Malaysia, the spokesman said no comparison could be drawn between the two.

“Look, CPEC is the flagship and the most active project of the Belt and Road Initiative. We have actualised 22 projects of worth $28 billion over the past four years since CPEC was launched. Hence, CPEC cannot be compared with Chinese overseas investment in Sri Lanka or Malaysia as CPEC’s framework and financial modes are altogether different in nature,” the spokesman said.

The official said that the Gwadar Port is grant-based which means that the Government of Pakistan does not have to pay back the invested amount for the development of the port.

“Energy projects are being executed under Independent Power Producers (IPPs) mode and finances are mainly taken by the private companies from China Development Bank and China Exim Bank against their own balance sheets, and therefore, any debt would be borne by the Chinese investors instead of any obligation on part of the Pakistani government,” the official added.

The spokesman said Pakistan has opted for Chinese investments under CPEC due to the favourable financing arrangements.

“We need to remember China stepped forward to support Pakistan’s development at a time when foreign investment had dried up, and economic activities were being crippled by energy shortages and infrastructure gaps. CPEC has provided enormous opportunities for Pakistan to grow economically,” the official added.

When asked about the impact of CPEC on Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the spokesman said that CPEC is an engine for economic growth and is expected to increase Pakistan’s GDP growth by two per cent to three per cent.

“CPEC has also facilitated in overcoming crucial energy, transport infrastructure and supply chain bottlenecks. Under CPEC, development of Gwadar would ensure the strengthening of maritime sector particularly the coastal tourism and local fishery industry thereby benefitting the local communities”.

The official said that Pakistan has repeatedly stated that it is fully committed to CPEC, which enjoys complete consensus among all institutions and political forces in Pakistan as CPEC is a key to the future of Pakistan’s socio-economic development.

“Within the broad parameters of the already approved CPEC framework, the present government, with the mutual consultation of the Government of China is broadening the base and expediting the pace of CPEC”.

When asked about the Saudi Arabian investments in the CPEC, the official said that a mechanism is being developed to include third-party participation in CPEC.

“The socio-economic development and poverty alleviation are being included in the CPEC and a separate working group is being established to fast track this dimension of the mega project. Gwadar continues as prioritized and being developed as a standalone project and a trans-shipment hub based on blue economy principles. Industrialization under CPEC has already been fast-tracked and four SEZs would hit the ground soon,” concluded the official.

URL: https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/10/11/cpec-debt-servicing-to-commence-in-year-2021-says-official/

FIR against NTDC engineers by Sindh Govt to delay power projects under CPEC

ISLAMABAD: National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) on Monday suspended all construction activities and has withdrawn all of its man force working on important transmission lines for CPEC coal-based Port Qasim Project apparently due to threats and registration of FIR by Sindh government.

A spokesman of NTDC in a statement issued to media also said that the work will also be suspended on important projects due to harassing of the officers and officials of NTDC by Sindh Police. He further said that registration of FIR against its engineers and officials will delay in completion of energy projects under CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor). However, NTDC engineers are completing the projects of grid stations and transmission lines in difficult terrains throughout the country on war footings.

According to details of FIR, the spokesman said that Police Station Dhabeji has registered FIR on behalf of Sindh government through Mukhtiarkar (Tehsildar) Taulqa Mirpur Sakro against the installation of towers of 500 kV Double Circuit Quad Bundle Transmission Line from Port Qasim Power Plant which was energized after day and night efforts of NTDC staff on Nov 2, 2017. The recently completed transmission line will evacuate power from 1320 MW Port Qasim Coal Power Plant and will help to eliminate load shedding from interior Sindh. The spokesman said that the government of Sindh was fully aware of the installation of towers in the area and ongoing activities of NTDC engineers.

It is pertinent to note that Secretary Power Division also made telephone contact with Chief Secretary Sindh when it was initially reported some two weeks ago that Sindh government is going to take action against NTDC officials. However, he asked the Chief Secretary Sindh for an amicable solution due to the importance of the project. The Secretary Power Division also made a request to CM Sindh during the Pak-China JCC on the same issue. However, regretfully, the government of Sindh instead of taking into account the importance of CPEC project and requests by the Secretary Power Division unilaterally decided to register FIR.

Source: Pakistan Today, 11th Dec 2017.

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Pak, Bulgaria agree to enhance cooperation in the field of trade

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Bulgaria have agreed to further enhance cooperation in the field of trade, economy, investment and culture.

During 3rd round of bilateral political consultation in Sofia, Bulgaria, the two sides expressed satisfaction on the ongoing collaboration at the UN and other multilateral fora.

The two sides also identified possibilities to enhance cooperation in education, science and technology, defence, parliamentary exchanges and people-to-people contacts, said a statement of the Foreign Office here on Tuesday.

They also discussed peace and security situations in their respective regions.

The Pakistani delegation briefed the Bulgarian side on its efforts aimed at promoting peace and security in Afghanistan, Pakistan-India relations and human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

The Bulgarian side appreciated Pakistan’s role in the fight against terrorism and sacrifices rendered by it.

Source: Pakistan Today, 12th Dec 2017.

Pakistan important player in region with Chinese investment plans: Zubair

KARACHI: Governor Sindh Mohammad Zubair has said the world is witnessing Pakistan as an important player in the region with the Chinese investment plans which will bring the country closer to Central Asian Countries with a strategic role.

He was speaking as a chief guest at “United Marine Agency (UMA) – 16th CEO Summit Asia & Leadership Award Ceremony 2017” & “Book Launch 100 Performing CEOs, Leaders & Companies of Pakistan 2017”, organized by CEO Club Pakistan & CEO Today Magazine at a local hotel.

Governor Sindh said that Pakistan has been changed into a different and a progressing country having a lot of potential for foreign and local investors and businessman to start and expand their business on the land of world’s new emerging economy.

He said the corporate sector and masses should alter their approach towards Pakistan as positive in tandem with visible development and peaceful scenario across the country which was made possible with efforts of democratic government.

He also added that “Pakistan’s economy was facing uncertain situation in 2013. Government worked day and night in its first three years to revive country’s economy and our hard work has put the economy on the path of prosperity.

Pakistan Stock exchange is now the best stock exchange of region and its rise is a prove of governments successful economic policies.”  S.M Muneer, Chairman, Din Group of Industries l Chief Executive, TDAP said that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor will bring development and prosperity in the country.

The trade corridor will not only limited to a country or a sector but it will expand its scope to mainstream industries and allied businesses that will be given boost by new road of progress. He said the government is taking solid initiatives to build Pakistan in collaboration with local and foreign investors who believe Pakistan as lucrative and high-returned market for them.

Ijaz Nisar, Founder & President, CEO Club Pakistan said, “We always quote success stories of western CEOs but do not highlight achievements of local entrepreneurs like Sohail Wajahat Siddiqui, Sohail Shams, Shazad G. Dada and Muhammad Zubair. We have our own local Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Laxmi Mittal who can turn the fate and face of the country if they are provided conducive and friendly environment for doing business.”

He said the summit was an ideal opportunity for building relationships with peers and colleagues who can share information, insights and inspiration that can be of vital help for your organization.

The summit also provided multiple opportunities to gather with other summit attendees in order to extend once reach and influence into the community of his/her fellow senior CEO leaders.

The purpose of this mega corporate event is to bring the soft corporate image of Pakistan at global level and book culture.

As many as 600 top Chairmen, CEOs, Presidents, MDs, Country Managers, Entrepreneurs, Government Officials, Diplomats, Business Leaders and C-Level Management attended the event.

Source: Business Recorder, 12th Dec 2017.

Misconceptions about CPEC

A flagship of China’s massive One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is driven in part by Beijing’s desire to build additional routes for its energy imports from the Middle East and to lessen its dependence on sea routes. For Pakistan, CPEC is an extremely cohesive project, a game changer not only for Pakistan but for the entire region and beyond. The corridor has been welcomed across the region with optimism that can only accelerate with the passage of time. Unfortunately, there are detractors to this vital project, India’s blatantly hostile stance is supported by some leaders of a few nationalist parties, political workers, intellectuals and even a few analysts. A sustained campaign has been launched to create an impression that Pakistan will lose more than it will gain. The barrage of criticism spread across a platform of lies and falsehood must be debunked and the actual facts explained.

One myth and wrong perception is that China is an imperialist power bent on exploiting “our natural resources for the gargantuan appetite of economic growth”, the fact is that China is blessed with huge deposits of natural resources, including some rare earth elements. A wrong perception being spread is that Chinese labour and workers (mainly Chinese prisoners) will replace Pakistani workers rendering them jobless, whereas the fact is there is more than plenty of work in China. For security reasons the 10,000 Chinese nationals living in several camps will go back when projects are completed. That Chinese military bases are planned in the coastal belt and Gwadar Port is another wrong opinion. The actual fact is that CPEC is a 100% economic project aimed at linking the region with economic opportunities with no military designs. Apart from this, there is another false perception that anti-state sentiment in Xinjiang will only exacerbate the likelihood for militant ideologies to connect across CPEC, the fact is that this socio-economic project will bring in prosperity and peace in the region, particularly in the less-developed areas. Youth will get job opportunities reducing their vulnerability to terrorist teaching.

The wrong perception and belief that Pakistan’s rising trade deficit with China ($6.2 billion) will harm Pakistan is not Pakistan-specific. India’s trade deficit with China is 47 billion dollars and that of the US is 347 billion dollars. There is a false notion prevalent that Pakistan is being dictated terms by China, the provinces are not being consulted whereas the fact is that all four provinces are consulted and invited to every meeting Pakistan and abroad. In May 2017, all chief ministers attended the OBOR Summit in China with former PM Nawaz Sharif. That CPEC will harm local businesses is another wrong idea, the fact is that by providing quality products, CPEC will increase competitiveness of goods in local markets. Pakistan not being able to provide security to Chinese here, especially in Balochistan, due to the law and order situation isn’t a reality either. The fact is two Special Security Divisions (SSD) have been mobilised by the army, consisting of 15,000 personnel providing security to CPEC projects/personnel. It is not true that air pollution caused by coal-fired power plants is harmful. Plants in Pakistan are all new, thus there is no question about air pollution. Over 1,000 similar plants are already operational in China.

Another wrong perception is that CPEC is not going to bring about any positive change for Pakistan but the fact is that to even claim the massive investment of over $70 billion in Pakistan, over $600 billion in Russia and more than $200 billion in Central Asia, Iran and Afghanistan will not bring any change is unrealistic and absurd. The notion that resources will be exploited with projects being undertaken against the will of locals, resulting in demographic change is false as the fact is that Balochistan’s growth is more than guaranteed; CPEC investment will create more job opportunities bringing about change for the better for locals. Pakistan becoming a Chinese colony is far from being a possibility as the actual fact is that history has proven that colonialism and imperialism are legacies of countries of the global West. China (and the US) are industrial powers with global clout that have never tried to colonise any country. High insurance, high loan interest and high return on equity is also a myth whereas the fact is that most loans are of low interest, in projects investment is guaranteed with 17% return per annum on equity.

The deliberate attempts by anti-Pakistan lobbies and giving air to wrong perceptions about CPEC are because they know it will bring progress and prosperity in Pakistan. By creating doubts and sowing fear and misconceptions, a lot of traction has also been gained by the cynics of CPEC reporting factually incorrect information. The government’s efforts to debunk misconceptions have fallen woefully short, the electronic and print media must get into the act to educate the masses and launch a campaign about the actual benefits to Pakistan from this mega project. What must be hammered home is that China is a friend which has put their money where their mouth is by actually bringing sizable investment into Pakistan when no other country was willing to do so, rhetoric has been replaced by substance. The level of economic engagement China is undertaking with Pakistan is unprecedented and will go a long way in improving our economy and bringing about a more stable political situation in the country.

SOURCE:https://tribune.com.pk/story/1748106/6-misconceptions-about-cpec/

CPEC: the way forward-IV (Security issues and more)

Pakistan has to take a number of steps to transform the challenges mentioned in previous articles into opportunities. Regarding governance challenges, Pakistan should host forums where local, regional, provincial and federal stakeholders can discuss the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Currently, the provincial governments interact with the two sides (civil and military) of the Federal Government with reference to the National Action Plan (NAP). There is a need to conceive a comprehensive and meaningful legal and institutional framework. In this respect, local, provincial, regional and the federal governments should deliberate, negotiate and, ultimately, legislate, such an all-encompassing governance framework.

In addition, the provincial cabinets in tandem with apex committees are responsible for making security policies for areas like, for example, Karachi. However, there have been cases over the past four years, where a provincial government thought differently when it came to extending the powers and jurisdiction of the Rangers in Sindh. Such difference of opinions and clash of interests emanate from the embedded duality of governance mechanisms. With a legal and institutional framework in place in the provinces, regions and at the centre, not only could CPEC governance and security improve, but intra-provincial juridical and logistical matters as well as centre-province related administrative and fiscal issues can be resolved.

Moreover, to make CPEC an attractive specimen for economic growth, its financial dimension should not be overlooked. In this regard, the Pakistani and Chinese governments ought to work interactively to sort out currency substitution and fiscal issues; and provide adequate funds to small and medium-sized firms. However, such funds should be firm-friendly to attract further investment nationally and globally.

Concerning applied security, Pakistan has already taken due measures such as the establishment of Special Security Division (SSD) and Maritime Security Force (MSF) — both consisting of military personnel that number around 15,000. The SSD and MSF is a federal arrangement where the Ministry of Interior coordinates with the provincial. Importantly, the provincial governments such as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab have also raised Special Protection Units(SPUs) that comprise the police and number around 10,000; the SPUs are meant to safeguard CPEC projects, Chinese labour and machinery. Noticeably, due to the said security arrangements, there has not been, so far, any recorded incident of terrorism on CPEC infrastructure, including Chinese or Pakistani workforce and equipment.

The Pakistani and Chinese governments ought to work interactively to sort out currency substitution and fiscal issues; and provide adequate funds to small and medium-sized firms

Nevertheless, in order to improve CPEC security, especially that of the proposed Industrial Zones and Parks, Pakistan ought to counter terrorism at various levels. Strategically, for example, the country needs to interact with its neighbours meaningfully. China may, in this regard, play a role by encouraging regional cooperation. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) provides an effective platform in this respect. Moreover, the trilateral and quadrilateral Afghan peace processes are steps in the right direction. In addition, China-Iran-Pakistan trilateral engagement carries the potential to devise a collective response to anti-peace elements in Southwestern Asia. Importantly, China may also work with the United States to engage Pakistan, Afghanistan and India in a manner that reduces strategic uncertainty. Politically, Islamabad should try to negotiate with the locally active extremist and insurgent groups. Although sole reliance on military means may not produce the expected outcome.

Ideologically, there is a growing need to propose, at least socially, pluralistic narratives to neutralise the detrimental effects of religious extremism, social intolerance and terrorism. Already, around six hundred religious scholars, belonging to different religious sects in Pakistan, have issued a religious decree declaring suicide terrorism as contrary to Islamic principles. Here, the Pakistani state can play an important role by encouraging and supporting such pro-humanity voices.

Besides, China and Pakistan ought to play a leading role by reinforcing efforts for peace and stability locally, nationally and trans-regionally. The former should also stay aware of the precarious security situation Pakistan is passing through. The latter needs to revisit its policies, which might have provided an enabling environment to criminal and terrorist elements.

Last but not the least, for the sake of CPEC, Pakistan has to take some extraordinary measures. One the one hand, there is a need to devise a strategy to have local and provincial law enforcement apparatuses such as the police on board to enhance the policy and operational capacity of civil law enforcement and to improve the human intelligence at strategic locations along the Corridor. On the other, the local, provincial and federal governments should come up with a comprehensive governance framework under which the country’s law enforcement could work effectively. Ideally, institutions can perform optimally under a single but consolidated command structure.

In addition, for effective surveillance of industrial zones and Gwadar Port, the Chinese government can be helpful in terms of provision of sophisticated gadgets to increase infrastructural security of an enclave. For example, within the Gwadar enclave, the Chinese corporations may, after due consultation with Pakistani authorities, operate on its own in terms of oversighting consignments etc. However, handing over overall security of Gwadar and Special Economic Zones to Chinese corporations and/or security companies, both public and private, would arguably not be a sound idea and a feasible option given Pakistan’s bitter experiences with American security apparatus such as Blackwater.

Finally, the Chinese government in general and companies and their workforces in particular, ought to be mindful of popular perceptions of identity, self-respect and sovereignty. To avoid more untoward incidents such as the infamous scuffle between the police and Chinese workers in Khanewal (South Punjab), the Chinese government and the top leadership of various companies need to train its labour about Pakistani cultural norms, religious values, political system and administrative rules and regulations. If the suggested measures are taken into policy consideration, it will enhance CPEC governance and improve its security along with consolidating economic gains for not just China and Pakistan but also for the rest of the region.

SOURCE:https://dailytimes.com.pk/263172/cpec-the-way-forward-iv/

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Pakistani students to be offered vocational training, education in China

The CPEC Cultural Communication Centre (CCC) under its ‘Talent Corridor’ scheme will offer scholarships to 1,000 Pakistani students for a one-year vocational training starting from November this year in China.

“The students to be selected from across the country will be provided free tuition and dormitory during the training at different universities and institutes in China,” Echo Lee, Director General, CPEC CCC and CEO of St Xianglin Management and Consulting Company while talking to APP here on Sunday.

The CPEC CCC is located in China’s Suzhou Vocational University, which has the world-class facilities and able faculty and its functions include Sino-Pak students exchange, academic research and seminars, vocational education, organising Chinese culture experience camp and teachers exchange, she added.

Giving further details about scholarship scheme, she said it is a three level programme and the students will be taught outer space and high-speed train technology during the first level while in the middle level, they will be imparted education of hydro-power and solar energy engineering.

The students selected for the lowest level will get training for the driving of different machines and types of equipment including excavation machines and caterpillar etc.

Ms Echo Lee said this year, 1,000 students will be offered 20 majors from a high level to the lower level classes as compared to 100 scholarships in six majors last year.

While hoping for a positive response and cooperation from the Pakistani side, she said at present, the details are being discussed with the concerned officials in the Pakistan ministry of planning, development and reforms as well as the embassy of Pakistan in Beijing.

She informed the CPEC CCC is jointly working along with the Chinese education ministry which is affiliated with a number of vocational universities and institutes.

To a question, she claimed that vocational education in China is the highest level in the world even in some areas it is better than Germany and Japan.

The CEO said this cross-border education exchange programme is step one of the overall project and added in the next phases, equipment and teachers will be sent for vocational training of Pakistani students in Pakistan.

The Chinese vocational education centres, as well as educational parks, would be set up in Pakistan in future, she added.

She said her organization intends to donate some training equipment and looking forward to a positive response from Pakistani institutions which are interested to receive it.

About the cooperation in the past, she said her organization has signed a MoU with Khyber Pakhtoonkhaw (KP) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) governments to set up cultural communication centres under the CPEC framework.

These centres will serve as the main forum in the field of Sino-Pak education and cultural communication, she added.

SOURCE:https://nation.com.pk/01-Jul-2018/pakistani-students-to-be-offered-vocational-training-education-in-china

Pakistan and China have a history of friendship which was built by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Mao Tes-tung: Sherry Rehman

Leader of Opposition in Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman has said that cooperation between Pakistan and China is a manifestation of the desire to further deepen ties for mutual benefit. She expressed these views while talking to Acting Chinese Ambassador Zhao Lijian, who called on her at the Parliament House on Friday.Senator Sherry Rehman said that, “Pakistan and China have a history of friendship which was built by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Mao Tes-tung and both the countries have stood with each other and seen the vicissitudes of time. She said that this historic friendship has remained beneficial for both in economic and strategic fields while initiatives like “CPEC and OBOR (One Belt One Road Initiative) have added further impetus to bilateral relations between the two sides.”

She said that the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, former President Asif Ali Zardari and Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto – Zardari always placed Pak-China relations in highest regards and consensus exists across party lines in relations with China. Rehman said that, “we hope that CPEC will generate more jobs at very fast pace, more opportunities for Pakistani youth and expediting social and economic development.”

Critical narratives are also being propelled within Pakistan that “China is trying to take advantage of Pakistan which has managed to isolate itself from the international community due to allegations of terror financing,” said a Netherland-based think tank.

Rehman appreciated the fact that Chinese envoy was further proactive in consolidating the Pakistan and China friendship. The Ambassador informed the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate about the projects initiated under CPEC and said that fourteen projects under CPEC have able to generate 70000 employment opportunities for the youth of Pakistan and more projects are in the pipeline which would further grow employment in the country.

He said that, locals are a priority in all the CPEC projects. He also appreciated the fact that PPP was instrumental in bringing CPEC to Pakistan with President Zardari and Chinese President Xi Jingping signing agreements.

The extensive transactional economic ties between the two neighbors, have resulted in major realignments of strategic partnerships by countries perceiving CPEC as a threat to their domestic and international dominance.  India, is concerned about the Pakistan’s growing regional influence emerging from CPEC, both in terms of economic growth and consequent political stability. On the other hand America’s loosening grip on Pakistan’s foreign policy has put them in a position of uncertainty in the region.

US has always been apprehensive of china’s robust growth, as it has the weight required to tip of the global power balance. The Pak-China strategic duo is likely to undermine US influence in the region, and thus, partnership between India and US is a predictable consequence, if they are to retain their influence in the region.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis upped the ante further by questioning the legality of China’s much-hyped One Belt One Road (OBOR) project, warning that the planned infrastructure-building initiative would pass through what India considers the “disputed territories” of Kashmir and Gilgit-Balistan, where the borders of China, India, and Pakistan meet.

Senator Sherry Rehman said that, “Pakistan and China have a history of friendship which was built by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Mao Tes-tung and both the countries have stood with each other and seen the vicissitudes of time.

This time the retort came from Beijing, which called on other countries to join their regional cooperation agreements instead of perceiving them as a threat. If everybody is offered a piece of the pie, only those countries will oppose which have ambitions beyond their sovereignty.

However, critical narratives are also being propelled within Pakistan that “China is trying to take advantage of Pakistan which has managed to isolate itself from the international community due to allegations of terror financing,” said a Netherland-based think tank. “Beijing is knowingly patronising Islamabad to turn it into a colony dependent on China for day-to-day survival”, according to Amsterdam-based European Foundation for South Asian Studies.

However, grass-root sentiments remain optimistic with regards to the CPEC projects, foreseeing regional stability, gradual real growth in Pakistan, and far-reaching positive impact on global trade. China is building the foundation upon which a new era of globalization will rise.

SOURCE:https://www.globalvillagespace.com/cpec-lays-foundation-for-new-era-in-world-trade/

Western route of CPEC to be completed earlier: Chinese envoy

ISLAMABAD: Acting Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Zhao Lijan has said that under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), western route of the project would be completed earlier than the eastern route.

Speaking at the National Press Club Islamabad about CPEC Project, the Chinese envoy dispelled rumors about the Western Route and said that western route of CPEC would be completed earlier than the eastern route.

He said work on various project under the CPEC was going with full speed and 22 projects would be completed during the current year while 18 projects would be completed next year.

He said around 70,000 Pakistanis had got employment in these projects.

The Chinese envoy said under the CPEC, the government had plan to complete a total of 200 projects till 2030 which would provide jobs to hundreds of thousands of people.

He expressed the hope that the next government in Pakistan would also continue the pace of progress on CPEC projects.

About Gwadar Port, he said, Gwadar International Airport would be completed in October this year. He said fisheries was an important sector of Gwadar and establishing a re-processing plant at the port Pakistan could further increase its exports.

He invited the overseas Pakistanis to come to their country and invest in Gwadar Port, adding that more than 30 Pakistanis companies had been registered at the Port.

He said the investors were being provided facilities of electricity, gas, water and wifai.

In energy projects under the CPEC, he said, $13 billion were being invested, adding that several energy projects had been completed which had overcome load-shedding problem in Pakistan to a great extent.

Under the CPEC, he said industrial parts would be established in Pakistan.

To a question, he said Pakistani were hard workers and capable people and if they could make an atomic bomb then stabilizing their economy was not a big task for them. He said in the 1970s decade Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was equal to China, adding that today’s success story of China was a result of hard work and dedication of Chinese people.

SOURCE:https://arynews.tv/en/western-route-cpec-complete-before-eastern-route/