Islamabad: China cannot afford to lose Pakistan because stability in its neighbourhood is integral to former’s development, said Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing on Saturday.
In a keynote speech organised by Lahore Centre for Peace Research (LCPR) on the topic ‘Pakistan-China Relations in the 21st century’, which was arranged in his honour, Jing stated that China would continue to be an all-weather ally for Pakistan and its importance would increase because of the centrality of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) route in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
“China envisages CPEC to be a lead project for connectivity and peace. The project is not only benefitting Pakistan and China, the ownership of CPEC finally belongs to the whole world”, Jing added.
Earlier on Saturday, former Pakistan Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed Khan, who is currently the chairman of LCPR pledged for stronger economic and social ties between Islamabad and Beijing.
He emphasised that China’s relations with Pakistan “were not based on transient interests but have remained unconditional”. He also noted that the BRI was a huge regional agenda with mutual interests rooted in China’s and Pakistan’s common vision for a better future and prosperity of the region, The Express Tribune reported.
He also praised Beijing’s commitment to promoting worldwide connectivity for socio-economic development and Pakistan would continue to support the CPEC project.
The building of the USD 62 billion economic corridor is a combination of building roads, rails, power plants and economic free zones in Pakistan.
Thousands of Chinese are currently working on the CPEC project. When built, it will link Gwadar to Xinjiang region in China, through Khunjerab Pass, giving Beijing a secure and shortest trade access to international markets.
India is against the CPEC project since it passes through the disputed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) region. (ANI)