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Jun 06, 2020 PRINT EDITION
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CPEC: FO rejects US criticism of China

Pakistan on Friday termed the Untied States' criticism over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Chinese "predatory, unsustainable and unfair" lending as contrary to facts and insisted that the multi-billion dollars "transformational projec

May 23, 2020

Pakistan on Friday termed the Untied States' criticism over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Chinese "predatory, unsustainable and unfair" lending as contrary to facts and insisted that the multi-billion dollars "transformational project is contributing positively and transparently to country's national development".
Responding apparently to the US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Alice Wells' recent presser in which she reiterated the US's criticism of China and the alleged lack of transparency in CPEC projects, Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said that economic development and long-term prosperity of the people was the government's top priority.
She said that that the CPEC, a flagship project of the BRI, was a transformational project contributing positively and transparently to Pakistan's national development.
"Pakistan and China are 'all-weather strategic co-operative partners'. We are engaged in prompting peace, development and stability in the region based on the principles of mutual respect, mutual benefit, win-win cooperation and shared development. Our ties are based on deep mutual trust and understanding," Farooqui said.
"Pakistan believes that regional economic connectivity will provide a critical stimulus for creating broad-based growth across the region," she further stated.
About the Chinese loans, Farooqui said that the Government of Pakistan had reiterated many times that our total public debt relating to the CPEC projects was less than even 10 percent of the total debt.
Moreover, the public debt obtained from China has a maturity period of 20 years while the interest is 2.34 percent, Farooqui highlighted.
"If grants are included, the interest value slides down to about two percent. The claims made by some of the commentators and public officials on Pakistan's debt obligations relating to CPEC are contrary to facts," the spokesperson further clarified.
She reiterated that the CPEC, a long-term project, had helped address development gaps in energy, infrastructure, industrialization, and job creation.
"Pakistan and China have several mechanisms to discuss matters of mutual interest. Both countries are regularly in touch [with each other] to address those issues bilaterally," she added.
Earlier on Thursday, the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad also responded to the "irresponsible" remarks by Alice Wells on the China-Pakistan relations and the CPEC, saying "this is yet another doomed attempt to defame Sino-Pak relations and the CPEC. We are firmly opposed to it". "We take Pakistan as an equal partner and never asked Pakistan to "do more". We support Pakistan's own model of development and never intervene in its domestic affairs. We [regularly] highlight Pakistan's responsible role in regional affairs and never exert pressure," the Embassy said.
It stated that the Chinese companies under the CPEC were all leading companies in their respective sectors and operated in full compliance with local laws and regulations.
Since its implementation, it added that the CPEC has brought $25 billion in direct investment and created more than 75,000 jobs for Pakistan.
China has been the major source of the FDI for Pakistan in the past five consecutive years.
While according to the BoI, the FDI from the US to Pakistan was a bit over $1 billion between 2012 and 2019, it added.
"We have no intention to comment on the Pakistan-US relations, but we hope the US can show basic respect to the choice by China and Pakistan. Irresponsible speech and unscrupulous blames won't help. We also hope the USA will abandon its cold war and zero-sum mentality, fulfill its responsibilities, extend due respect and give concrete assistance to Pakistan. We need no teachers, especially a teacher like the USA," the Embassy stated in a statement.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020