ISLAMABAD – Chinese envoy Yao Jing on Wednesday said the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China would take China, Pakistan relations into the ‘New Era’.
Addressing the participants here speaking at the launching of a book titled “CPEC – A Precursor to Regional Economic Growth and Stability” published by Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), Ambassador Yao Jing said that Pakistan and China are entering the ‘new stage of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)’ under which the areas of cooperation would be expanded.
He said the leadership level discussion on the next phase of CPEC would take place on the margins of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to China next week for attending the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Forum.
“Our leaders are jointly working with him (PM Khan) to elaborate the new stage,” he said while.
The edited book contains chapters written by both Pakistani and Chinese scholars. The book seeks to highlight the opportunities and potential of the economic corridor, address misperceptions, and bring back the focus of the discourse from its (CPEC’s) geo-strategic and political implications to economic and development aspects.
The over 300 page book, containing 12 chapters, has been edited by SVI President Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema.
The new phase is based on stronger private sector involvement including the activation of Special Economic Zones, social sector cooperation, and the involvement of third country partners.
An agreement on social sector cooperation would be signed during PM Khan’s upcoming visit to China, the envoy said. The social sector cooperation would cover six areas including education, health, agriculture, water and irrigation, poverty alleviation, and human resource development. Twenty seven projects are being initiated with $1 billion Chinese government grant, he said.
Mr Jing said that both countries had agreed to involve third party countries. “All countries are welcome to join the development of Pakistan’s economy,” he said.
Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, speaking on this occasion, said CPEC was a strategic national project, which was above party affiliations and provincial considerations. He said that the corridor was contributing to the strengthening of the federation by developing infrastructure and bringing progress and prosperity to the country.
He said “the best of CPEC” was yet to come, although the project has already made significant contributions in terms of addressing energy crisis, operationalizing of Gawadar port and activation of Thar Coal project.
Senator Mushahid said that Pakistan would become hub of emerging ‘greater South Asia’, which he believes would not just include the SAARC countries, but also China, Iran, and the Gulf region. He rejected the threats of containing China saying it was an outdated cold-war mindset, which was irrelevant to the 21st century Asia.
Former Defense Minister Lt Gen (R) Khalid Naeem Lodhi, who has co-authored a chapter in the book, said: “the entire framework of relationships between states, government and the people, and people to people may undergo a tactonic shift if the concept of shared prosperity is honestly embraced and common threats to humanity like climate change, environmental deterioration, disease and illiteracy are fought collectively.”
Director Chinese Studies Center at National University of Science and Technology (NUST) Amb (R) Syed Javed Hassan, another contributing author of the book, emphasized the need for urgent reforms in governance, agriculture, industrial, energy, taxation, SEZ, SMEs, civil service, electoral, land, labour, administration, higher education, and foreign trade sectors for optimally benefitting from CPEC. SVI President Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema said that CPEC not only merits a more informed narrative, but based on the current government’s re-prioritization of the goals of the project, there is a need for re-setting of the discourse on CPEC
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