The prospects of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are bright as both China and Pakistan are resolute in pushing forward its construction, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Monday.
He made the remarks at his regular briefing when asked to comment on a report that China would gradually end its financial support of Pakistan pledged under CPEC.
“Such reports are groundless,” Zhao said, adding as an important pilot project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), CPEC had maintained positive development momentum since 2013.
He remarked that after COVID-19 broke out, the projects under the corridor showed no withdrawal of staff, and there was no jobs cut and no halt in construction.
Zhao Lijian said the batch of major projects were completed, handed over or became operational, offering a strong support to Pakistan in its fight against COVID-19 and economic recovery. “My colleagues have talked about this as well.”
He said last Friday, the CPEC International Coordination Cooperation Working Group’s second meeting was held in Xinjiang.
During the meeting, “the two sides reiterated their consensus to implement our leaders’ agreement and make sure the corridor will focus more on industry, agriculture, science and technology and livelihood besides focusing more on underdeveloped region. So, it will become a high-quality demonstration project under the BRI.”
Against the backdrop of the global economic recession, China's overall investment in the Belt and Road, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), has increased. pic.twitter.com/9Jf35TNpDR
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He said that other working group meetings would be held to prepare for the joint cooperation working meeting.
The spokesperson said China and Pakistan were firmly resolved to advance progress under CPEC which had bright prospect. He stressed that against the global economic recession, China’s input in the BRI, including CPEC, had not reduced but rather increased against the odds.
“Over the first three quarters, China’s direct financial investment in BRI countries increased by around 30%, offering China’s support to many BRI partner countries in their effort to fight the epidemic and recover their economy,” he added.
Zhao Lijian also termed the certain media reports groundless which suggested that China was seeking additional guarantees from the Pakistani Government for releasing additional funds for ML1 project.