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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Remarks on British Media's Report on the Belt and Road Initiative and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
2018/09/12

Q: The London-based Financial Times quoted the Pakistani member of cabinet Abdul Razak Dawood as saying that Pakistan plans to rethink its role in the Belt and Road Initiative. The nine-member committee to evaluate CPEC projects established by the Pakistani side will think about stretching CPEC out over another five years or so. What is your comment?

A: We noted relevant reports as well as the clarification this Pakistani official gave afterwards. On September 10, the Ministry of Commerce of Pakistan issued a statement, saying that what the Financial Times cited has been taken out of context and distorted and the Pakistani side rejects the article. The statement also pointed out that during the recent visit of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the Pakistani side made it very clear that CPEC is a national priority for its government. The Pakistan-China relations are impregnable and the government's commitment to CPEC is unwavering.

As far as I know, the nine-member committee to evaluate CPEC projects was established to better coordinate with the Chinese side to accelerate the CPEC building and deliver more benefits to the Pakistani people, rather than to spread the CPEC projects over a lengthier period.

As is known to all, CPEC is a major economic cooperation project initiated to meet the needs of the Pakistani side, and its building has contributed to the social and economic development of Pakistan. There is a total of 22 cooperation projects under the framework of the CPEC, of which 9 have been completed and 13 are under construction. The total investment amounts to $19 billion, raising Pakistan's economic growth by 1 to 2 percentage points per year and creating 70,000 jobs. These tangible outcomes are there for all to see.

During State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to Pakistan, the President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the new Pakistani administration all said that CPEC is a landmark project for economic cooperation between the two countries, which has delivered and will continue to bring tangible benefits to the Pakistani people. The new Pakistani government is committed to fully deepening the building of the CPEC and is ready to make full efforts with China to ensure its sound development.

China and Pakistan also reached new consensus on better advancing the building of the CPEC during State Councilor Wang Yi's visit. The two sides agreed to determine CPEC's future course of development and cooperation through negotiations based on Pakistan's next-stage socio-economic development priorities and the needs of its people. We will focus on stepping up industrial cooperation and livelihood projects, gradually extend them to the western part of Pakistan and enable more Pakistanis to benefit from CPEC. The two sides also agreed that CPEC is open to a third party's participation, which will benefit the whole region.

I would like to stress in the end that the Belt and Road Initiative is open, inclusive, and transparent, following the principle of discussing, building and benefiting together. Five years have passed since the BRI's inception. Now, it has become an important international cooperation platform and international public good to promote multilateralism and economic globalization. By far, over 130 countries and international organizations have signed cooperation documents on the BRI with China. If the BRI was born out of geopolitical motives and beset with risks and challenges, giving rise to crises and pitfalls, as some people alleged, then it could not have achieved the extensive popularity, fast progress and fruitful outcomes it is enjoying today. It all comes down to what we usually say: we welcome all like-minded countries to join the BRI so that altogether we could promote regional connectivity, development and prosperity and deliver more benefits to people around the world.

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