New Delhi (Sputnik) — Pakistan and China have refuted a Financial Times report that said that the former was rethinking its role on the latter's Belt and Road initiative (BRI). Pakistan's Ministry of Commerce and Textiles published a report on Monday stating that Pakistan's commitment to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) under the BRI was "unwavering."
— Rishikesh Kumar (@rishhikesh) September 10, 2018
"The previous government did a bad job negotiating with China on CPEC — they didn't do their homework correctly and didn't negotiate correctly so they gave away a lot," said Abdul Razak Dawood, the Pakistani member of the cabinet responsible for commerce, textiles, industry, and investment, according to the Financial Times.
"During the recent visit of Chinese foreign minister Mr. Wang Vi, the two sides reiterated the all-weather strategic cooperation partnership between Pakistan and China and also reaffirmed their commitment to CPEC. Pakistan reassured the Chinese side that CPEC is a national priority for the government. The Chinese side also highlighted the significance of CPEC for both sides. There is complete unanimity between the two sides on the future direction of the CPEC," the statement read.
— Chinese Emb Pakistan (@CathayPak) September 10, 2018
"CPEC has been facing resentment from various quarters, peoples of the Pakistani province of Baluchistan has been opposing the project. Similarly, there are apprehensions within Pakistan that the terms and conditions of the CPEC are likely to benefit Chinese firms more. But the government of Pakistan is in favor of the project as it will give a necessary boost to the much-needed infrastructure development. So they cannot afford to cancel it but seek to derive much from the economic corridor. Meanwhile, China is also on the toes after the recent cancellation of its projects by the Malaysian government. In fact, the Chinese foreign minister's visit to Pakistan was to clear the apprehensions," Srikanth Kondapalli, professor of international affairs at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, told Sputnik.
The $62 billion CPEC connects China's Kashgar in Xinjiang province with Pakistan's Gwadar port and is one of the largest projects of the BRI.
Interestingly, the Chinese state media have been warning Pakistan that Western media will try to hype Prime Minister Imran Khan's reservations on the project and that Pakistan should be wise enough to discern their intentions.
"It's also foreseeable in the future that the Western countries and media will continue to make an issue of the corridor and Chinese investment in Pakistan in an attempt to drive a wedge between China and Pakistan. The new Pakistan government should be particularly wise to this," the Global Times warned in an article published on July 26.
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) August 15, 2018