Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday that the early implementation of the USD 50 billion CPEC projects will not only help realise the true potential of the economic relations of Pakistan and China, but also for the region. Khan chaired a high-level meeting with his Cabinet colleagues and discussed his maiden tour to China during which matters related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is to be discussed, an official statement said.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that Khan will embark on his first visit to China next month.
The meeting was also attended by Pakistan’s Finance Minister Asad Umer, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Planning and Development Minister Khusro Bakhtiar and Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed, inlcuding the senior officials, it said.
The Prime minister said that “strengthening all-weather Pakistan-China strategic cooperative partnership is the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy.”
The two countries had launched the controversy-hit USD 50 billion CPEC in 2015 under which a network of roads, railways and energy projects, linking China’s resource-rich Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with Pakistan’s strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea, has been planned.
Khan said that the CPEC was a great opportunity to learn from the Chinese experience especially in social sector, agriculture and other areas.
He said that the agricultural output of the country, considered as the backbone of the economy, can be enhanced manifold by learning from Chinese expertise and employing latest technologies and efficient methods.
The Pakistani prime minister emphasised on the need to focus on early establishment of the Special Economic Zones in various parts of the country, which would help the local industry to grow through industrialisation and would also create huge employment opportunities for the youth.
Khan said that the flagship the CPEC under BRI initiative of President Xi Jinping also offered opportunities to other countries to invest in the CPEC projects and reap benefits in various sectors.
Khan in the past had criticised former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for the lack of transparency and corruption in the CPEC projects.
Chairing a Cabinet meeting of the Balochistan province during his first visit to the restive province as the prime minister on Saturday, he said that Pakistan was reviewing the projects under the CPEC to safeguard the interest of the Baloch people, who say the projects were not beneficial for them.
Last month during his meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Khan had said that the Pakistan government was committed to the implementation of the CPEC projects.
Wang had also conveyed the desire of the Chinese leadership to work with the new government of Khan for further enhancing the strategic partnership between Pakistan and China.