CPEC projects unaffected by COVID-19: Officials

Chief of China Overseas Ports Holding Company Zhang Baozhong said neither any Pakistani employee in any CPEC project had been laid off nor anyone has suffered a pay cut during the coronavirus crisis.

Islamabad: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects have remained unscathed by the COVID-19 pandemic, officials and think tank representatives said.

The remark was made on Thursday at a webinar attended by experts of Chinese and Pakistani think tanks, reports Dawn news.

Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing said that over 60,000 Pakistanis had been employed with CPEC projects, adding that 13,000 Chinese technicians, engineers and experts were also working on these projects.

Chief of China Overseas Ports Holding Company Zhang Baozhong said neither any Pakistani employee in any CPEC project had been laid off nor anyone has suffered a pay cut during the coronavirus crisis.

He said all CPEC projects were free of COVID-19.

Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Chairman of the Pakistan-China Institute Senator Mushahid Hussain said the silver-lining amid coronavirus crisis was the strengthening of the countries’ bilateral relations.

The CPEC is a flagship $62 billion projects of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative that aims to connect Asia, Africa and Europe through a vast network of highways, rail lines and sea lanes.

The multi-billion-dollar corridor connects the Chinese city of Kashgar with Pakistan’s Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea.

In November 2016, CPEC became partly operational when Chinese cargo was transported overland to Gwadar Port for onward maritime shipment to Africa and West Asia, while some significant power projects were commissioned by late 2017.

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