Tensions have emerged between the two nations- China and Pakistan over the future of China Pakistan Economic Corridor, as per a US Agency report. The report asserts that there are disagreements over funding and direction over many mega projects under the CPEC banner between China and Pakistan.
The CPEC was touted as a game-changer for the deteriorating Pakistan’s economy in 2015. However, it has continued to sink under huge debt trap in recent years. Moreover, the pace of CPEC projects have fallen to a standstill even as China remains to be one of the few countries still investing in Pakistan.
According to a report published in Modern Diplomacy, written by Geopolitical analyst Fabien Baussart, the recent meeting between the dignitaries of China and Pakistan has lead to a significant down-falling of the expectations of CPEC projects, especially after the Covid-19 breakout. Bausssart writes that while the country has for long portrayed the $6.8 billion main line-1 project to be the main artery of the Pakistan railways and tried to convince China for the financing of the project; The Chinese have avoided any commitment for funding. The report further states that the hype created by Islamabad over CPEC, as a panacea for all problems, is finally losing steam.
The Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) monitors the CPEC and is chaired jointly by the Vice-Chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission and Pakistan’s Minister for planning, development, and cpecial initiatives. The first meeting of JCC was conducted in the year 2013 following several others and the last one was in November 2019. The 10th JCC meet was supposed to be conducted in early 2020 but was reportedly cancelled due to increasing tensions between Islamabad and Beijing over the progress being made under the committee’s banner and the directions of the project.
CPEC would link Pakistan’s southern Gwadar port, which is about 626 kilometres west of Karachi, in Balochistan on the Arabian Sea to China’s western Xinjiang region. It further includes plans to create road, rail, and oil pipeline links to upgrade connectivity between China and the Middle East.