Last week, when Pakistan’s Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid announced a cut in the cost of a railway project under the CPEC from $8.2 billion to $6.2 billion, it seemed that Pakistani government is finally waking up to realise the harsh realities regarding the much-touted China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). However, the Chinese have decided to leave no stone unturned to convince Pakistan otherwise.
Today, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang denied media reports claiming that CPEC as a major reason behind Pakistan’s debt burden and quoted International Monetary Fund (IMF) statement that reinforced his stand.
On being asked about the recent cut in the funding and Pakistan’s apparent reluctance for CPEC, Lu said, “If you can fully understand the attitude of the new Pakistani government on the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, it should be noted that the Pakistani government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed his full support”.
Lu further stressed that CPEC is fundamentally conducive to regional connectivity and lasting prosperity.
WHAT IS CPEC?
China Pakistan Economic Corridor is a clutch of projects valued more than $51 billion which aims at expanding and upgrading Pakistan’s infrastructure. It includes building roads, laying railway lines and pipelines to carry oil and gas.