China on Friday reportedly agreed to provide USD 6 billion in aid to cash-strapped Pakistan to minimise its dependence on an IMF bailout package as Prime Minister Imran Khan on a maiden visit here held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. 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.
Pakistan is expected to receive USD 6 billion economic package from China during the visit, Pakistan’s Geo TV reported. A loan of USD 1.5 billion is also expected to be offered, along with an additional package of USD three billion for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the report said.
The loan and the investments were reportedly part of the USD six billion package. There is no official comment from Beijing yet on the report.
This is the second USD 6 billion package which Khan has managed to obtain in the last few weeks as Pakistan reeled under severe financial crisis.
Earlier during his visit to Saudi Arabia, Riyadh committed USD 6 billion funding which included USD 3 billion deferred payment for oil imports.
Pakistan Finance Minister Asad Umar, who is accompanying Khan, earlier told media in Islamabad that his government’s strategy was to seek loans from multiple sources instead of asking the International Monetary Fund (IMF) alone to plug the entire gap in the country’s financing needs.
Khan’s visit evoked considerable interest here as it comes in the wake of his past criticism of the USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects and remarks by his ministers to cut down some of the projects over debt concern.
Khan’s visit to China will provide an “opportunity” for the two countries to open a “new chapter” of bilateral relations “under the new circumstances,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Monday.