China satisfied with CPEC pace of work: Zhao

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Mian Arshad

Islamabad—Charge d’ Affairs, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, Zhao Lijian, Wednesday, said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project had entered implementation phase and China was quite satisfied with the pace of implementation.
He further said that with the implementation of CPEC, Pak-China cooperation would embrace new heights in future because CPEC was a golden opportunity for both the countries. In 2013, China was at 16th number country with largest foreign direct investment in Pakistan but in 2015, China topped the list” he added.
Addressing the concluding session of a two-day National Conference on CPEC, Macro and Micro Economic Dividends for Pakistan and the Region here, he said that ‘CPEC provided an important network and platform of win-win cooperation among countries along the Belt and Road regions. It is the best reflection of the Silk Road Spirit featuring peace, cooperation, openness, inclusiveness, mutual learning and shared prosperity.
He said, eight energy projects were being built including the Port Qasim Coal-fired Power Project, Sahiwal Coal-fired Power Plant, Dawood Wind Power Project, 720MW Karot Hydro-Power Project, etc. Two mega infrastructure projects namely the KKH up-gradation phase II (Havelian to Thakot Section) and Karachi-Peshawar Motorway (Sukkur to Multan Section) are being implemented. ‘With the wide coverage of energy, infrastructure and economic zones, the impact of CPEC on Pakistani economy goes beyond any specific sector and area’, he stressed.
Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister for Commerce Engr Khurram Dastgir termed the political instability as the lone potential threat to CPEC. Otherwise, he said that all the prevailing economic indicators as well as improved law and order situation were quite favourable for the economic uplift of the country.
‘To tackle our energy crisis, 3/4 of CPEC investment is dedicated to energy provision only. The impact of energy provision is going to be visible in the coming months’ he added.
CPEC has cemented the time-tested alliance and friendship of both Pakistan and China and marks a very positive metamorphosis of Pak-China’s 65 year-long relationship. The corridor puts on ground the depth of this ‘iron friendship’, the Minister said, as it has come at the right time.
‘Due to rising violent extremism and resultant low economic growth, Pakistan had been strategically isolated from the world; investors had refused to make investments, however, due to this historic corridor, foreign investment will begin to trickle into Pakistani market once again, as the EH projects near completion’, he said.
Discussing the broader impact of CPEC, Dastgir said that tremendous trade will flow into Gwadar after the Port is connected to resource-rich Central Asian States. Thar Coal, which has remained unexploited for decades, will finally be exploited, and will begin to produce energy, which will bring in foreign investors. Sahiwal Project, which is the fastest power plant built in the world, is one example of the successful execution of CPEC.