- Beijing again rebukes claims that CPEC aided to Pakistan’s ‘debt burden’
BEIJING – China Monday said that less than 20 percent of the current projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) were using Chinese loans and over 80 percent CPEC ventures were direct Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects or grants.
During a media briefing here, Mr Lu Kang, the spokesperson of Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs MOFA, rebuked western media criticism that CPEC projects were aiding to Pakistan’s economic woes.
“Only less than 20 percent of the current CPEC projects are using Chinese loans and more than 80 percent of them are directly invested by China or using Chinese grants .. So these CPEC projects didn’t further increase Pakistan burden on the contrary it is strengthening Pakistan’s economy. We hope you can visit Pakistan and learn what local people think of CPEC and make a judgment of China-Pakistan cooperation based on facts,” Mr Lu Kang responded to a question asked during the media briefing.
He said CPEC is a symbol of China-Pakistan cooperation in the new era and also an important pilot program of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
“It (CPEC) has been more than 5 years since the CPEC started and now there are 22 early harvest projects creating tens of thousands of local jobs and satisfying the electricity needs of 8.6 million households,” the spokesman said.
Lu Kang went on to say that CPEC has greatly improved Pakistan’s infrastructure and power supply and of course, it is welcomed by Pakistan government and its people.
“Carrying out major projects with international financing is a global practice. It is also an effective approach for developing countries to handle the financial bottlenecks and foster growth,” he added.
CHINA SUPPORTS MULTILATERALISM
Lu Kang also voiced his country’s support for multilateralism after France and Germany jointly proposed an “Alliance for Multilateralism” during a recent session at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and his German counterpart Heiko Maas intended to officially launch the Alliance during the 74th session of the UN General Assembly scheduled for September.
“China has always staunchly upheld, supported and practiced multilateralism,” spokesperson Lu Kang said at a press briefing while commenting on the proposed Alliance, adding that China supports the efforts of the international community including France and Germany in maintaining multilateralism.
Lu said China stands ready to work with all parties in preserving the international order and regime with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter at its core, and the rule-based multilateral trade regime with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core, with a commitment to multilateralism.
Against the backdrop of a surging trend toward economic globalization and multi-polarization as well as a constant increase in global challenges, the world needs multilateralism more than ever before, the spokesperson said.
Speaking of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s remarks at a forum on global governance attended by French, German and EU leaders during Xi’s recently-concluded European visit, Lu mentioned Xi’s advocacy for safeguarding multilateralism, enhancing international dialogue and cooperation, and jointly addressing the deficits in governance, trust, peace and development, so as to improve global governance.
“China is ready to work with all parties in facilitating a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation, to jointly build a community of shared future for mankind,” Lu concluded.
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BRI cooperation crucial for post-Covid economic recovery, says expert
ISLAMABAD: The Belt and Road Initiative is crucial for global economic recovery in the post-pandemic era and building a community with a shared future for mankind by following a path of cooperation, unity and common development, said a political economist.
“Enhanced constructive engagements based on the principle of win-win cooperation is the need of the hour to overcome the challenges posed by the still raging pandemic, and ensure sustainable global economic recovery,” Shakeel Ahmad Ramay, director of the China Study Center at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, an Islamabad-based think-tank, told Xinhua in an interview.
He said that China is strongly committed to implementing the BRI for the common good, which is evident from the recently held high-level conference on the Belt and Road cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.
“It (conference) shows the strong commitment of China to global cooperation and sustainable recovery and development […] China has assured its support to BRI countries. China is willing to provide market opportunities, investment opportunities and growth opportunities for global recovery,” the expert said.
Terming the BRI a proactive constructive economic cooperation plan, Ramay said that despite the global economic disruptions and worldwide lockdowns, China did not pause the initiative and continue to pour investments into various countries, especially the least developed countries.
China kept on investing in BRI programs when the world was going through a serious economic fallout due to Covid-19, giving the much-needed breathing space to a number of countries, including Pakistan, he said.
He said the projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, an important pilot project of the BRI, progressed steadily during the Covid-19 pandemic, adding that the projects also helped generate employments and were a great relief in the hardest of times.
During the pandemic, Pakistan and China have enhanced cooperation in the field of agriculture, science and technology and energy. Also, work on special economic zones under CPEC is in full swing to promote industrialisation in Pakistan and boost the national economy, he said.
The economist said that the BRI has been helping to bridge the worldwide infrastructure investment gap. “The world is facing severe challenges to meet the investment for infrastructure development which can hinder economic growth worldwide […] in the context, the BRI investments are helping countries to bridge that gap.”
Ramay said that China has been trying to create new economic opportunities globally, adding that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement signed among its 15 participating countries including China, will provide solid economic growth to the world.
The expert believes that global economic recovery is not possible with the mentality of unilateralism or the “ourselves first” approach as being adopted by some developed countries.
“Rich countries should assist poor countries in containing the pandemic by timely providing vaccine, pooling the resources and working on deeper integration, which will also be ultimately favourable for the developed world through the creation of a market for their products,” Ramay said.
He said that Covid-19 vaccines should be declared as a global public good to fight against the common enemy, and China has been working determinedly in this direction.
“China has donated vaccines to many countries, and it is supplying vaccines at the concessional rates as it is the best instrument against the deadly virus […] vaccinated people can come back to their jobs and play their part in economic prosperity,” he said.
However, Ramay said that despite all the efforts, a few so-called rich Western countries are creating hurdles for China out of their hegemonic thinking and zero-sum Cold-War mentality.
“Instead of concentrating on the most pressing challenges like Covid-19 and world economy, they are bent to baseless criticism and focusing on how to contain China. These countries even dubbed the Chinese vaccine assistance to needy countries as vaccine diplomacy,” he said.
Yet, ignoring all the negative propaganda, China is making every effort to turn the ongoing challenges into opportunities for everyone to forge a prosperous world on sustainable development principles, he added.
Xi declares “complete victory” in eradicating absolute poverty in China
BEIJING, China (Desk) – Chinese President Xi Jinping announced on Thursday that China has scored a “complete victory” in its fight against poverty.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said absolute poverty has been eradicated in the world’s most populous country.
Xi made the announcement while addressing a grand gathering held in Beijing to mark the country’s accomplishments in poverty alleviation and honor its model poverty fighters.
Over the past eight years, the final 98.99 million impoverished rural residents living under the current poverty line have all been lifted out of poverty. All the 832 impoverished counties and 128,000 impoverished villages have been removed from the poverty list.
Since the launch of the reform and opening up in the late 1970s, 770 million impoverished rural residents have shaken off poverty when calculated in accordance with China’s current poverty line.
China has contributed more than 70 percent of global poverty reduction over the same period.
With such achievements, China has created another “miracle” that will “go down in history,” Xi said