The head of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority (CPEC) has accused the United States of sabotaging the multi-million dollar project, Pakistan’s economic livelihood, according to a media report.
The ambitious CPEC was launched in 2015 when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan.
Its aim is to connect western China with the Gwadar seaport in southwestern Pakistan through a network of roads, railways and other infrastructure and development projects.
“From the point of view of the emerging geostrategic situation, one thing is clear: the United States, backed by India, is an enemy of CPEC. It will not let you succeed. That is where we have to take a position, ”said Khalid Mansoor, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special assistant on CPEC affairs, while addressing the CPEC Summit at the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi on Saturday. .
Islamabad is the seventh largest recipient of Chinese overseas development funding, with 71 projects worth $ 27.3 billion currently underway as part of CPEC.
Many Western think tanks and commentators have called CPEC an economic trap that has already resulted in inflated public debt levels and disproportionately high Chinese influence on Pakistan’s economy, according to a report in the Dawn newspaper.
The aide to the prime minister said the United States and India continue to “make attempts to remove Pakistan from” the China Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a global infrastructure development plan, under which the Chinese government it has been investing heavily in some 70 countries. the report said.
“There is no way for Pakistan to give up any of its benefits. He has burned his fingers on the (Western) alliance more than once in the past, ”he said, adding that his attempts to dilute China’s strategic influence in the region will fail. Mansoor said that Western powers view CPEC as a symbol of China’s political ambition.
“That is why CPEC is viewed with suspicion by both the United States and Europe … they view CEPC more as a move by China to expand its political, strategic and commercial influence,” Mansoor said, noting that China has been able to dispel that apprehension. “largely”.
The United States is now “taking stock of the economic and political consequences” of withdrawing from the region, he reasoned.
“I had a detailed discussion with the people at the American embassy. I told them that CPEC is also available to them. They have also expressed their wish that they would like to develop some kind of participation and see how it can be beneficial for both countries, “he said.
Mansoor said Islamabad is seeking expansion of the CPEC into Afghanistan and has discussed the possibility of Taliban-led Afghanistan joining the multi-billion dollar economic corridor.
He said there has been “deep interest” in developing economic connectivity between Afghanistan and Pakistan and with other neighboring countries, including Iran.
“Some European countries have started to show interest (in CPEC). Their ambassadors keep coming, ”he said.
He referred to fake news and “negative propaganda” about the viability of CPEC and the pace of its progress.
“In terms of its scope, CPEC Phase II will be an order of magnitude greater than Phase I.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)