Bilateral ties key as CPEC faces inflection point

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/28 22:03:40

China will always stand by Pakistan's "core interests" no matter how the international landscape changes, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan has been quoted in media reports as saying. The remarks have gotten public attention in Pakistan and India.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a flagship project in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Now, the CPEC is going through a stage of transition from its first phase, which  concentrated on infrastructure projects, to the second phase, which centers on manufacturing and living standards. While Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei have gradually increased their investment in Pakistan, an iron-brother friendship between the two countries is expected to shore up economic cooperation.

The BRI is facing some harsh criticism. Some Western observers believe China engages in debt-trap diplomacy through the BRI. In Pakistan, the CPEC has been blamed for causing a debt problem. 

We believe that this misunderstanding can be cleared up. First, infrastructure projects will help create an opportunity to support economic growth in Pakistan after those projects are put into use. Second, the development of manufacturing will allow Pakistan to gain sustainable benefits from becoming part of global value chains. 

The CPEC is at an inflection point, facing an all-out transformation into its second phase, in which sustainable benefits generated by the project will help reduce public misunderstandings and ensure sustainable development of the initiative. China will spare no effort in its cooperation with Pakistan to push forward the CPEC. At this critical moment, China and Pakistan must strengthen bilateral relations. We believe China is sincere in remaining iron brothers with Pakistan and standing by the latter's core interests. 

The development of the CPEC is in line with interests of the entire region. The project has played an increasing role in promoting economic integration. 

What's more, economic growth and higher living standards in Pakistan will help crack down on terrorism and enhance regional stability. China and Pakistan need to firmly push forward the development of the CPEC at this critical moment.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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