BEIJING: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Monday said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was the most visible part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which had also helped overcome energy deficit in Pakistan.
“The CPEC is most visible part of BRI towards the West today, which has helped Pakistan grow. It has helped overcome the energy deficit that we have,” he said in an interview with China Global Television Network (CGTN) on the sidelines of Boao Forum for Asia.
The prime minister is currently in China to attend the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference being held in the southern island province of Hainan.
He said the connectivity was improving as “we are building over 1,700 kilometers of multi-lane motorway as well as special economic zones.”
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the Gawadar port was now operational and providing access for Central Asia to the sea. It was the most efficient access and it was a positive move for both Pakistan and the whole region, he added.
While commenting on Pakistan-China relations, he said the time-tested relationship between the two countries was 70 years old. “Over the years, both the countries started these relations with military and economic cooperation, which had grown with President Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative and the CPEC, which is most visible part of it,” he added.
He said with President Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative in the region and as part of the push towards the West, Pakistan greatly benefited from that relationship.
Prime Minister Khaqan Abbasi said Pakistan and China had a very strong bilateral relationship, which, he hoped, would grow in future.
About economy and the rupee value, he said the rupee had to find its real value. “What is happening now is a correction in the value of rupee.”
He said the government was making effort for the economic growth. “We are close to five per cent growth for the last two years. We hope to achieve plus six per cent sustainable growth rate.”
He said whenever there was a growing economy, it had current account issues and that was what Pakistan was facing today. “We are managing this issue and we are very positive that it will take a couple of years to come out of this issue and especially with the Yuan parity growing, it will be very positive for Pakistan.”
When asked why did Pakistan want to keep Chinese currency as a reserve currency in a swap of trade, he said it was very beneficial for bilateral trade, which was improving. “Since there is pressure on dollar reserve, I think the move towards the Yuan will be a positive step for both Pakistan and China,” he added.
He said Pakistan adopted Yuan as a reserve currency as a management strategy of its finance. It would also benefit bilateral trade, which was improving. On the other hand, it would help Yuan become an international currency.
He said China was a champion of economic liberalization while the United States was talking about protectionism. Pakistan did not believe in protectionism as opening and liberalization were the way forward, he added.
Pakistan, he said, would join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in June in Qingdao. The SCO was a regional multilateral cooperation mechanism. The inclusion of Pakistan would also benefit other parties. He said both India and Pakistan were joining (the SCO) and Pakistan viewed the move to improving bilateral relations.
Prime Minister Abbasi, who will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the BFA, said he believed in the vision of China, not just for the region but for the world also.
Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2018