CPEC to benefit all, not be politicised: Nawaz

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Geo-economics must take precedence over geo-politics; CPEC core project of Belt and Road initiative

Omar Malik

Beijing

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor under the One Belt, One Road initiative, was open to all countries in the region and categorically said the project “must not be politicised.”
“Let me make it very clear that CPEC is an economic undertaking open to all countries in the region. It has no geographical boundaries. It must not be politicised,” the Prime Minister said in his address at the plenary session of high-level dialogue on Belt and Road Forum, themed “Cooperation for Common Prosperity,” being held in China’s capital.
India has boycotted the global event citing reservations on the CPEC route passing through Gilgit-Baltistan, India claimed to be a disputed territory. The Prime Minister’s statement is apparently a response to Indian concerns and opposition.
“It is time we transcend our differences, resolve conflicts through dialogue and diplomacy, and leave a legacy of peace for future generations,” he said at the BRF platform, with 29 heads of state and government and 1,500 delegates in attendance.
The Prime Minister said peace and development go hand in hand, and nothing can pave the path for peace and security more than economic development achieved through regional collaboration.
“We admire China’s vision of developing corridors across the region,” he said, adding that the massive initiative would be an important tool in fostering peace and development in the region.
“OBOR would promote inclusion and tolerance and help in overcoming terrorism and extremism. Its most important impact would be on the poor and marginalized population through its objective of sustainable development,” he said.
“The OBOR signifies that geo-economics must take precedence over geo-politics, and that the centre of gravity should shift from conflict to cooperation,” he said.
In his remarks, Nawaz Sharif said this project will link three subcontinents and affirmed that One belt and One Road project is a gift for next generations .
He said it must not be politicised.
The Prime Minister said OBOR could be regarded as a “powerful tool for overcoming terrorism and extremism.”
“As OBOR is unfolding across continents, it is fostering inclusion, creating tolerance, and promoting acceptance of cultural diversity,” he said,
The Prime Minister said CPEC was a core project of OBOR and had rightly been called its flagship for aiming to connect the neighbourhoods of East and West Asia.
He said CPEC made Pakistan both a conduit and destination for cross-regional investment and trade.
Terming ‘China as Pakistan’s close friend and trusted ally’, Nawaz Sharif said his participation at the Forum was to celebrate the remarkable success of the seminal initiative of ‘One Belt, One Road’.
He expressed confidence that the historic event would build critical pathways in the years to come for economic and financial cooperation, business-to-business collaboration, and people-to-people contacts.
He paid President Xi and the Chinese leadership his deepest tributes for their dynamic and creative leadership and said Pakistan admired China’s vision and ingenuity in developing corridors across regions.
The initiative spans some 65 countries representing 60 percent of the world population and around a third of global gross domestic product.

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