China visit to pay dividends soon: PM

Lifestyle       by Bushra Nayeem | Published

Beijing appeared to acquiesce to his government's concerns during his first visit since becoming prime minister, with Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou telling reporters that CPEC will "tilt in favor of areas relating to people's livelihoods".

He also said that China had assured "every kind of assistance" to Pakistan.

The delegation includes secretaries of finance, trade and planning, as well as the governor of the State Bank of Pakistan.

"We decided that our strategic dialogue must be upgraded and its level be raised to the foreign ministers level", he said.

CPEC, a $64 billion megaproject signed in 2014, aims to connect China's strategically important northwestern Xinjiang province to Pakistan's Gwadar Port through a network of roads, railways and pipelines to transport cargo, oil and gas. He told premier that Yemen wants to see Pakistan progressing and developing whereas he also briefed PM Khan on the current situation of his country.

"The MoU which is of utmost importance is related to poverty alleviation".

Foreign Minister Qureshi said that Prime Minister Khan's three-day trip to China was successful and 15 MoUs were signed to further deepen the relationship.

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"We can learn a lot of China in this regard and through modern technology, we can increase our productivity and out per-acre yield", he said. "If Pakistan is forced to reveal the harsh terms and conditions of Chinese infrastructure projects under an International Monetary Fund bailout, that would be severely damaging to China's strategic and economic interests worldwide", he said.

He said now the agriculture sector is also being included in CPEC to uplift it.

"We have always had good strategic relations with China but this time around, we were more focused on advancing the economic footprint", he added.

The report said that China's directive to Pakistan to not disclose the amount was compelled by the concerns of "regional partners" of Beijing.

While Khan's government was able announce the financial support, both analysts said Pakistan's military could continue to be the main actor in the nation's affairs with China.

"Beijing feels that making details of the assistance package public may ignite anger in the locals since it is public money and they believe it is wise to keep the details under wraps", the source said.

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