Pakistan and China sign 16 deals | Sunday Observer

Pakistan and China sign 16 deals

Nov 3: China on Saturday said it will provide assistance to Pakistan to tide over the ongoing fiscal crisis but declined to give details about the financial package it is likely to extend to Islamabad. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is on four-day visit to China in the backdrop of his new government’s struggles with a financial crisis.

Khan is knocking on the doors of friendly foreign countries like China and Saudi Arabia for aid while negotiating a hefty bailout package with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“During the visit, the two sides have made it clear in principle that the Chinese government will provide necessary support and assistance to Pakistan in tiding over the current economic difficulties. As for the specific measures to be taken, the competent authorities of the two sides will have detailed discussion,” Vice-foreign minister, Kong Xuanyou told reporters following Khan’s meeting with Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang, at the Great Hall of the People on Saturday morning.

“In response to the economic and fiscal difficulties Pakistan faces at the moment, China will provide help and assistance within the realm of its capability,” Kong said. Agency reports quoted Khan as telling President Xi Jinping during their meeting on Friday about Pakistan’s difficult economic times.

“My party has only been in power for two months. Unfortunately we have inherited a very difficult economic situation. Countries go in cycles. They have their high points, they have their low points. Unfortunately, our country is going through a low point at the moment with two very big deficits, a fiscal deficit and a current account deficit,” Khan was quoted as telling Xi.

Some of the money China will provide Pakistan is likely to be channeled through the 16 bilateral agreements the two countries signed on Saturday in sectors ranging from poverty alleviation, to agriculture and industry.

The two countries have also agreed to expand the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), one of the flagship ventures of the Belt and Road Initiative(BRI). Talking about Xi’s vision about building the BRI, Kong said the CPEC “faces new opportunities and needs to be pushed forward,”

“There has been no change in the number of the CPEC projects. If there is going to be any change, there will be an increase (in projects) going forward,” Kong said.

“The dimension of industrial cooperation will be introduced going forward. The CPEC will be introduced to more areas of Pakistan and also tilt in favour of areas relating to people’s livelihoods,” he said, adding: “Hence going forward, both areas of CPEC and the contents of CPEC will be enriched”.

India has declined China’s invitation to join the BRI – a multi-billion dollar connectivity project – as the CPEC passes through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). Kong said both countries have reaffirmed their close ties.

“As Pakistan’s all weather strategic, cooperative partner, China has always viewed its relations with Pakistan from a strategic and long term perspective. China will continue to give its relationship with Pakistan a priority place on China’s diplomatic agenda and will continue to do what it can to provide help to Pakistan for its economic and social development,” Kong said.

“The Pakistan side reiterated that Pakistan’s relationship with China is a cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy. Pakistan remains committed to the friendship between the two countries and committed to advancing CPEC,” Kong quoted Khan saying.

-Hindustan Times