Four mega projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor launched


PM, Chinese VP unveil Rashakai Special Economic Zone project to promote industrialisation in KP Imran, Wang resolve to deepen all-weather strategic cooperative partnership

Four mega projects under CPEC launched

Maqbool Malik

May 27, 2019

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan Sunday launched four mega development projects in the fields of energy, technology and education under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Both the dignitaries unveiled the plaques of the four projects at a ceremony held here during the visit of the Chinese vice president who is here on three-day visit.

The ceremony was also attended by Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, Finance Adviser Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and members of the Chinese delegation.

Under the first project, a transmission line of 660KV would be laid between Matiari and Lahore to transmit power from coal-based plants located at Thar, Port Qasim and Hub. The project would have the capacity to supply 2000MW with 10 percent overloaded capability for two hours.

The two leaders unveiled the plaque for Rashakai Special Economic Zone (RSEZ) project to promote industrialization through optimally priced, world-class industrial infrastructure in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The RSEZ is situated centrally in the CPEC at the junction of Karakoram Corridor and ML-1 development corridor. It is set to become, and will be designed, to be the key trade and logistics hub connecting Kashgar, Kabul and Gwadar on the Belt and Road, and be a high-end host of international commercial, technological and manufacturing activities.

The two leaders inaugurated the Confucious Institute at the University of Punjab. The institute mainly provides Chinese education, cultural promotion and cultural exchanges and other projects and activities.

The ceremony also marked the launching of Huawei Technical Support Center to be established in Pakistan as part of Chinese tech giant’s commitment to make massive investment in Pakistan.

The two leaders also witnessed the signing of MoUs/agreements between Pakistan and China and inauguration of several projects to enhance bilateral cooperation in diverse areas. The MoUs/agreements signed on the occasion include Framework Agreement on Agricultural Cooperation; Memorandum on the Requirements of FMD Free Zone; Letter of Exchange for Disaster Relief Goods; China-Pakistan Economic Agreement; Agreement between CMEC, Government of Balochistan and Lasbela University on Modern Agriculture Comprehensive Development in Lasbela.

Both the leaders yesterday resolved to further deepen their ‘all-weather strategic cooperative partnership’.

Islamabad and Beijing expressed this commitment at delegation-level talks held here between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan. The Chinese vice president arrived in Pakistan on three-day visit on invitation of the prime minister.

Reaffirming ‘all-weather strategic cooperative partnership’ between Pakistan and China, the two leaders exchanged views on the entire gamut of bilateral relations and expressed the resolve to further strengthen bilateral relations in all spheres – including political, economic and trade and people-to-people exchanges.

Recalling his visit to China last month to attend the 2nd Belt and Road Forum (BRF), the prime minister expressed satisfaction at results of the visit and highlighted significance of high-level exchanges in cementing abiding friendship between the two countries.

The prime minister appreciated President Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative and underscored its significance for greater regional connectivity and sustainable growth.

Reiterating Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the prime minister highlighted the extension of CPEC into new areas of agriculture, industrial development and socio-economic uplift.

He also stressed the importance of further deepening bilateral economic and commercial interaction, industrial collaboration, and China’s investment in Pakistan’s special economic zones (SEZs).

Reciprocating the sentiments of the prime minister, the vice president thanked him for the warm welcome and hospitality.

He reiterated China’s strong support for agenda of socio-economic uplift and people-centred development.

He also expressed satisfaction at the increasing momentum of bilateral engagement between the two countries.

Among other things, the vice president underlined importance of frequent leadership-level exchanges, CPEC projects in diverse sectors, expansion of bilateral trade in a balanced manner, promotion of investments, and increase in cultural and people-to-people exchanges with a special focus on youth and the media.

The two sides also exchanged views on the regional situation, including recent developments in South Asia.

The vice president lauded Pakistan’s constructive approach and new initiatives for forging peaceful and cooperative relations in the neighbourhood.

Vice President Wang also expressed China’s appreciation for Pakistan’s sustained and successful efforts in the fight against terrorism and reaffirmed China’s steadfast support in this regard.

Earlier upon arrival on three day visit on Sunday, the Vice President of China Wang Qishan was accorded red carpet welcome at Nur Khan Airbase.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar received the Chinese vice president.

Source: The Nation “Four mega projects under CPEC launched”

Note: This is The Nation’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

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Usage of Chinese yuan in Pakistan, other BRI countries on the rise


By INP –
May 5, 2019

BEIJING: The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has fueled the yuan’s internationalisation, particularly in the past two to three years as work on related projects accelerated.

Pakistan is also among those countries that have opened the door to settling all bilateral trade with China in yuan instead of the United States (US) dollar. According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) there is no bar to using the yuan to settle payments for trade and investment from China.

In Southeast Asia where economic relations with China are closer than in other countries and regions the yuan usage is getting popular, one expert told the Chinese Media House, the Global Times.

However, he said that relatively strict foreign exchange policies in many BRI markets, as well as insufficient branch network of domestic financial institutions in those markets, are restricting the yuan’s internationalisation in the short term.

Source: profit.pakistantoday.com.pk “Usage of Chinese yuan in Pakistan, other BRI countries on the rise”

Note: This is profit.pakistantoday.com.pk’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


OBOR to become symbol of Pak-China friendship: FM Qureshi


By news desk

Apr.26, 2019

Qureshi says the Great Wall of China has stood the test of time, much like the friendship between Pakistan and China

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the One Belt and One Road (OBOR) Initiative would eventually become a symbol of Pakistan-China friendship.

In his message on the social media website Twitter, Qureshi said it would be an icon for bilateral friendship since both Pakistan and China were charting new frontiers.

The Great Wall of China is a symbol of China’s triumphs and might. It has stood the test of time, much like the friendship between Pakistan and China. As we chart new frontiers the one Belt and Road Initiative will be the new symbol of our united triumphs and perseverance. pic.twitter.com/1Ky9xNjk5k

— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) April 25, 2019

The foreign minister, who is in China as part of the Pakistan delegation attending China’s Belt and Road summit, hailed the Great Wall of China as a symbol of the country’s achievements.

He also shared a picture of his autograph with the words, “long live Pakistan-China friendship, the only iron brothers in the world”.

PM Imran presents proposals for expansion of BRI

At the opening of the summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping sought to bat away concerns about his ambitious OBOR initiative.

According to him, the global infrastructure project would have “zero tolerance” for corruption and vowed to prevent debt risks.

Source: tribune.com “OBOR to become symbol of Pak-China friendship: FM Qureshi”

Note: This is tribune.com’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Pakistan’s PM Khan to visit China next week, sign new pacts


April 17, 2019

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit China next week to meet its leaders and deliver a keynote speech at the vast Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, the South Asian nation’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday, as economic anxiety grows at home.

China has pledged about $60 billion in infrastructure loans for Pakistan, touted as a success story of its Belt and Road initiative, which aims to build road and maritime trading routes across the globe.

But Pakistan’s economy has hit serious turbulence over the past year and Islamabad is now finalizing a bailout package with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stave off a balance of payments crisis, despite more than $10 billion in short-term loans from allies such as China and Saudi Arabia.

Khan will visit China from April 25, and give a keynote speech at the three-day Belt and Road Forum that starts the following day. The high-profile gathering is one of China’s biggest annual state events.

“In addition to participating in the Belt and Road Forum, the Prime Minister would also hold bilateral meetings with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang,” the ministry said in a statement.

The two countries will sign several pacts to enhance cooperation, and Khan will meet corporate and business leaders, it added.

Khan’s visit to Pakistan’s all-weather friend China comes as his government, in power since August, faces a deepening economic crisis, with a ballooning current account deficit and fast-depleting foreign reserves.

It initially tried to avoid an IMF bailout by securing loans from friendly countries such as China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates but has since changed tack and said it had agreed in principle to turn to the IMF.

The long-delayed rescue package would be Pakistan’s 13th IMF bailout program since the late 1980s.

Reporting by Asif Shahzad; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

Source: Reuters “Pakistan’s PM Khan to visit China next week, sign new pacts”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China’s Succeses in Belt and Road, a Heavy Blow to the US


From left: Jean-Claude Juncker, Xi Jinping, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel in Paris. Photograph: Antoine Gyori/Corbis/Getty Images

Xi Jinping and Giuseppe Conte in Rome on March 23.
Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) aims first of all at establishment of secure connections to its export markets in Asia, Europe and Africa.

The rail connections to Europe through Russia and Central Asia have not only been established but also in regular operation but the railway freight is expensive and slow due to the need to change carriages with different gauges.

A shipping route through the Arctic to Europe along Russian coast will be a secure shortcut but the Arctic has not melted enough. However, US refusal to reduce carbon dioxide emission may help. I wonder why the US is always helping China with or without its measures to contain China.

The rail link through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to the port of Gwadar for shipping to the Middle East, Europe and Africa will be a faster and cheaper alternative without gauge problem. The railways will be newly built with capacity devoted to such connections while the rail connections through Russia and Central Asia have limited capacity due to the use of existing old railways that have already been busy. The shipping from Gwadar is safe due to protection of Pakistani and Iranian military, for which China and Russia will provide advanced weapons and training if necessary.

The US is certainly unhappy with that as with such connections powerful US navy will be unable to cut China’s western trade lifelines.

Now, due to the trade war launched by the US against China, BRI’s top goal has switched to the transfer of China’s labor-intensive industries to BRI’s Silk Road economic belt to avoid US tariff hikes on the products of Chinese labor-intensive industries as well as reduction their labor costs.

US trade deficit with China will be greatly reduced but its trade deficit with Silk Road economic belt will increase by the same amount. China’s such strategy will deal a heavy blow at the US to thoroughly defeat the US in the trade war.

China’s market in the belt will expand and so will its geopolitical influence there though geopolitical influence is but BRI’s byproduct not its aim. For the US, however, such byproduct upsets it most as it hinders US world hegemony.

With secure trade lifeline, transfer of industries, exploitation of labor and other resources, expansion of China’s market and geopolitical influence, etc. BRI facilitates China’s further rise to surpass the US and reduces US world hegemony. No wonder the US and the Western media under US influence have been so upset by BRI and have been trying so hard to spread lies about BRI being debt trap, etc. to obstruct BRI. However, lies are but lies. With or without Chinese investment, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, etc. are building railways, roads, pipelines and ports to set up trade connections and build infrastructures and industry zones for China’s trade and labor-intensive industries.

The connections and labor and other resources also attract other countries. According to Reuters’ report (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-pakistan-economy/saudi-arabia-to-set-up-10-billion-oil-refinery-in-pakistan-idUSKCN1P60OU on March 13), Saudi Arabia plans to build a $10 billion refinery in Gwadar due to its connections to Saudi’s markets in South Asia and China.

Other countries will also exploit the connections built by BRI. India is a firm opponent against BRI but its wealthy business family owned and Singapore-registered Silver Park International is taking part in building a $3.85 billion refinery in Hambantota, the port built under BRI (see Channel News Asia’s report “Sri Lanka opens work on US$3.85 billion refinery near strategic port” on March 24 at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/sri-lanka-opens-work-on-us-3-85-billion-refinery-near-strategic-11374242).

Seeing the successes of BRI, Europe certainly is no willing to lag behind in exploiting the connections built and markets expanded under BRI. Moreover, the infrastructures built under BRI will enable Europe to build factories of cars and other products in Silk Road economic belt to avoid US tariff hikes. Italy has signed a memorandum of understanding to participate in BRI, Germany and EU have shown their interest in BRI after Merkel and Juncker’s summit with Macron and visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Like AIIB, the US will again fail in its efforts to have Europe join it in containing China.

Article by Chan Kai Yee.


Indian Air Strike in Pakistan Helps China’s Belt and Road There


Reuters says in its report “India launches air strike in Pakistan; Islamabad denies militant camp hit” on February 26 that India said that its air force conducted air strike in Pakistan and killed 140 militants but Pakistan denied any damages or casualty inflicted by Indian air raid.

Though Pakistan has shot down 2 Indian warplanes and captured one Indian pilot, Pakistan is weaker than India and has suffered a lot in three previous wars with India.

According to Chinese media, weapons supplied by China have played their role to enable Pakistan to resist Indian attack.

Pakistan and China are iron brothers. If India really starts a war with Pakistan, China will certainly help Pakistan. Indian attack has made China popular in Pakistan and helped reduce the opposition of some people affected by the construction of China’s Belt and Road projects in Pakistan.

When the projects are completed, those people will be benefited by the projects and their opposition will be turned into support.

There were 220 million people in Pakistan and most of them are quite poor. The infrastructures built under China’s Belt and Road initiative will facilitate China to move its labor-intensified industries to Pakistan and provide employment for those poor people.

That will in turn make Pakistan prosperous and provide market for Chinese goods. It seems that both China and Pakistan shall be grateful to India for the air strike that according to Pakistan has caused no damages or casualty.

War between India and Pakistan is certainly not desirable. However, as both countries have acted with restraint, there will be no war between them, but the tension and hostility will remain to facilitate China’s Belt and Road.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-kashmir-pakistan/india-launches-air-strike-in-pakistan-islamabad-denies-militant-camp-hit-idUSKCN1QF07B.


China expresses ‘deep concern’ over India-Pakistan conflict


February 28, 2019

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – A senior Chinese diplomat expressed “deep concern” over the escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan on Wednesday, after the two countries said they shot down each other’s fighter jets.

State Councillor Wang Yi, the Chinese government’s top diplomat made the comments in a telephone conversation with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, China’s foreign ministry said in a statement on its website on Thursday.

Qureshi telephoned Wang to inform him of the latest developments in the conflict and to express hope that China would continue to play a “constructive role” in easing tensions, the statement said.

Wang “reiterated his hope that both Pakistan and India will exercise restraint and earnestly fulfill their commitments to preventing the expansion of the situation,” and said the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected, the statement said.

India launched an air strike on what it said was a militant training base on Tuesday, its first inside Pakistan since a 1971 war, after at least 40 Indian paramilitary police died in a Feb. 14 suicide car bombing by Pakistan-based militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

It is the first time in history that two nuclear-armed powers have launched air strikes against each other, while ground forces have exchanged fire in more than a dozen locations.

Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Michael Perry

Source: Reuters “China expresses ‘deep concern’ over India-Pakistan conflict”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.