China denies CPEC projects at risk because of Pakistani currency crisis

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/7/11 20:53:40

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that projects under the massive China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will continue as planned and will not face interference from the ongoing foreign exchange crisis in Pakistan.

At a regular press briefing on Wednesday, Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said that earlier media reports suggested CPEC could be at risk if China does not provide loans to Pakistan to avert the latter's currency crisis.

"We believe that the CPEC will move forward in accordance with the consensus reached by the Chinese and Pakistani sides and will not be disrupted by other factors," Hua said, adding that the CPEC has offered great impetus to economic growth in Pakistan in recent years and has "the full support of the Pakistani government and people."

Citing unnamed Pakistani officials, the Financial Times reported on Friday that Pakistani officials had told their Chinese counterparts that if China did not provide additional loans to Pakistan to help with the country's foreign currency crisis, it would have to turn to the IMF for loans.

That would require Pakistan to disclose details of investment for the CPEC and "even cancel some of the infrastructure projects already planned," the Financial Times reported.

Hua on Wednesday called the report "seriously inaccurate," before referring to Pakistani Minister for Finance, Planning and Development Shamshad Akhtar, who had "cleared up" the rumors and stressed that Pakistan would firmly push forward the development of the CPEC, according to the spokesperson.

Asked about the loans, Akhtar said that the new Pakistani government would follow all bilateral commitments made by the previous government, but declined to comment on the IMF loan situation, according to a report from Pakistan Today on Tuesday. Pakistan is going through a government transition period, news website reported.

At the press briefing on Wednesday, Hua said that China has noticed the shortage of foreign reserves in Pakistan, but China "believes the Pakistani side will be able to overcome the temporary difficulties." The spokesperson also did not mention any plan for China to issue loans to Pakistan.


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