China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has not only helped Pakistan improve its infrastructure and economic indicators but also greatly eased the energy crisis, former Ambassador to China, Khalid Mahmoud said.
In an interview with a Chinese media website ‘jfdaily.com’ at the 8th World China Studies Forum, Mahmoud confirmed the role and influence of the CPEC and also made positive comments on China’s foreign relations and international status.
He said Pakistan and China have established friendly relations over the past 70 years. In recent years, economic cooperation between the two countries and local government cooperation have been continuously strengthened.
In particular, CPEC, as a flagship project of the ‘Belt and Road’, has injected vitality into Pakistan’s economic development.
Talking about the impact of CPEC on Pakistan’s economic development, Mahmoud said, ‘Although some countries have sung against the project, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is the best promoted among the six economic corridors in Pakistan.’
He said CPEC not only helped Pakistan improve its infrastructure and promote economic development, but also greatly eased the energy crisis in Pakistan.s China has opened up many new channels with the ‘Belt and Road’, which is in its own interest.
Mahmoud also said the good-neighborly and friendly relations between the two countries in the past are more reflected in the level of government exchanges. ‘I hope that with the help of the ‘Belt and Road’, China and Pakistan can further strengthen cultural exchanges in the future.’
Terming the ‘Belt and Road’ an embodiment of China’s rising international status, he said in the past four decades, China has developed from a relatively isolated country into a very important country.
Today, China is at the heart of the ever-changing global power matrix, from observers to active participants, and China’s foreign affairs diplomacy has also become the focus of international relations.
Despite the current misunderstanding of the peaceful rise of China in some Western countries, Mahmoud believes that the decision-making of the Chinese leadership is extremely intelligent. Under this strategy, relations between major powers may not move toward conflict or war, but the parties may adjust. ‘Every country has the right to grow and develop, and of course China has this right.’
Mahmoud said what should be explored now is a new type of relationship between big powers, that is, mutual benefit while developing.
He also expressed the hope that China will play more roles in the international arena in the future and become a different big country in the international community with its own unique diplomatic philosophy.