Chinese, Pakistan leaders prepare to meet amid debt concerns

Ex-India Cricketer Hopes Imran Khan Will Help Resume Tests With Pak

China promised to support Pakistan's economy on Friday as new Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan told of his country's "very difficult" economic situation amid a burgeoning financial crisis.

Khan, who arrived here in the early hours on Friday on a four-day visit, met Xi in the Great Hall of People where the two leaders also held one-on-one meeting besides delegation-level talks, Pakistan media reports said.

Yao Jing, China's ambassador to Pakistan, told reporters in Islamabad on October 27 that Pakistan is expected to receive good news from the visit.

The creation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has no relevance to the Indian-Pakistani territorial dispute and will not influence China's stance on Kashmir, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, said on Thursday.

The loan and the investments were reportedly part of the United States dollars six billion package.

Pakistan has appealed to the International Monetary Fund for an emergency bailout of US$8 billion and last month also secured a US$6 billion support package from Saudi Arabia.

Imran's visit evoked considerable interest in Pakistan as it comes in the wake of his past criticism of the $50 billion CPEC projects and remarks by his ministers to cut down some of the projects over debt concern.

Xi said China always views relations with Pakistan as a priority of diplomacy and supports Pakistan in safeguarding national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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He said Pakistan faced a deficit of $27 billion which included $9 billion debt repayment this year.

PM Khan was received at Beijing Airport by China's Minister for Transport Li Xiaopeng, Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing, and other senior government officials. "We made it clear many times", he said.

After visiting Beijing, Khan is set to be a key note speaker at a major import fair in Shanghai, an event being touted by China as an opportunity to show the world the country welcomes foreign companies and their products.

The premier is accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Minister for Planning Makhdoom Khusro Bukhtiar, Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce, Industry and Investment Abdul Razzak Dawood and Chief Minister of Balochistan Jam Kamal.

"China wants to avoid such transparency because exposing the terms of the CPEC project agreements could validate the U.S. criticism of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a debt trap for emerging economies", the Post report said.

"Basically, aside from the contracts that have been agreed and the projects that are moving ahead on the ground, which is the $19 billion worth, everything else is up for grabs as far as they (China) are concerned", Small said.

According to a statement released by Khan's office in Islamabad, the prime minister said the belt and road initiative would translate into a win-win for shared prosperity in the region and beyond. So, Islamabad's only link to Beijing is through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

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