CPEC will bring economic prosperity to all participating countries: Masood

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ISLAMABAD: AJK President Sardar Masood Khan has said that Pakistan and China enjoys a unique relationship based on mutual trust, equality, cooperation and collective aspiration for development. He said that China and Pakistan are “all-weather friends”. Quoting former Chinese Premier Li Keqiang who said, “If you love China, love Pakistan too”, the President added that “without a doubt Pakistan and China are iron brothers”

The President made these remarks while interacting with a delegation of Chinese diplomats at a roundtable meeting organized at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI). The meeting was also attended by ISSI Chairman Board of Governors Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, DG ISSI Ambassador Aizaz Chaudhry, Mr. Wang Xie, Political Attaché Embassy of China and other senior officials of ISSI.

Sardar Masood said that the relationship between Pakistan and China dates backs seventy years and there is a deep emotional attachment between the people of China and Pakistan. “Leaders like Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong were household names in Pakistan and their passing was mourned in Pakistan”, he said, while informing the diplomats of the deep bond between the people of the two nations.

He said that both China and Pakistan believe in promoting global cooperation instead of confrontation. He said that a very evident example of this is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and its flagship project – the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The BRI, he said, is a transcontinental mega-project spanning almost 80 countries. He said that this $ 1 trillion transformative project – which easily dwarfs the Marshall Plan – will not only benefit China but will bring economic prosperity to all participating countries.

CPEC is a game-changer for Pakistan and a catalyst for economic growth, he said. The President added that the perceived risks related to CPEC including security-related apprehensions, national consensus and continuity of the projects have all been addressed. Despite the change of governments in Pakistan, the zeal for cooperation and completion of the CPEC projects has seen no change.

Countries like India, USA and Japan have been calling BRI a ‘disruptive initiative’ so as to scuttle the success of the project. He said that these nations must disassociate themselves from this narrative which has been brought forward by the narrow-minded and jingoistic Indian government.

DG ISSI Ambassador Aizaz Chaudhry in his opening remarks while explaining Pakistan’s perspective said that Pakistan and China’s relationship is based on shared principles. He said that both Pakistan and China believe in globalism and reject the unilateralist approach when it comes to its international outlook and foreign and international economic policy.

Mr. Wang Xie said that the visiting diplomats are here to learn more about Pakistan and various aspects of our time tested relationship, including understanding the opportunities and challenges related to CPEC. He thanked the AJK President for giving a detailed briefing on Pakistan and China relations and expressed hope that over the coming years this strategic cooperation will strengthen exponentially. He also thanked the President for presenting an overview of the Kashmir dispute.