ISLAMABAD: Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing on Thursday said that the United States’ attitude towards China, China, Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Pakistan-China relations was a combination of ‘arrogance, distortion and desire for hegemony’.
While addressing a webinar, the envoy said that China will be a partner of Pakistan, but will never try to become its teacher.
Pakistan-China Institute, in cooperation with Lahore University for Management Sciences’ (LUMS) Centre for Chinese Legal Studies, had organized the special webinar under the framework of ‘Friends of Silk Road’ to celebrate 69 Years of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China.
Around 50 people from Beijing, Islamabad and Lahore, including Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Naghmana Hashmi, former Chinese minister, Dr Zhao Baige and Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Senator Mushahid Hussain, participated in the video conference.
The webinar was moderated by Mustafa Pakistan-China Institute Executive Director Hyder Sayed and LUMS’ Centre for Chinese Legal Studies Director Dr Sikandar Shah.
The programme began with a special documentary prepared by the Pakistan-China Institute on ’69 Years of Friendship’ to commemorate the auspicious anniversary of diplomatic ties.
The Chinese envoy also used the occasion to rebut to what he called “disinformation and baseless allegations” levelled by American diplomat Alice Wells, who is retiring as deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs.
Ambassador Hashmi cited the example of Pakistan and China supporting each other during crises, especially Covid-19, and she quoted President Xi Jinping as telling President Dr Arif Alvi during their meeting in Beijing on March 17 that Pakistan and China have a “unique, all weather, strategic, cooperative partnership”. She said that the future of Pakistan-China relations, beyond Covid-19, is “brighter, stronger and more enduring”.
Chinese former minister and member of parliament Dr Baige said, “We all are learning about Covid-19 and we are also learning from each other, and the future of Pakistan-China relationship is bright because future belongs to the youth of both countries, who are stakeholders in this relationship.”
Senator Hussain talked of the role of parliament and political parties in Pakistan being staunch advocates of Pakistan-China friendship and he cited the February 12 and May 14 resolutions unanimously passed by the Senate of Pakistan expressing solidarity with China, lauding the leadership of President Xi Jinping and rejecting the baseless propaganda against China.
He said that during the April 3 webinar hosted by PCI, eight political parties of Pakistan, both government and opposition, showed unity in their vision to promote, protect and preserve CPEC since they see this as a guarantor for a better tomorrow for the 220 million people of Pakistan. The senator also lauded China for having an inclusive and cooperative approach in tackling coronavirus at home and also seeking cooperation with other countries to collectively meet this common threat.
Sayed and Dr Shah thanked the participants for attending this webinar on a day that marks anniversary in Pakistan’s most important foreign policy relationship.
CHINA REITERATES SUPPORT FOR PAKISTAN:
Responding to American diplomat’s criticism of CPEC projects and Pakistan-China relations, the spokesperson for the Chinese embassy reiterated support for Pakistan.
“Today marks the 69th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China. For the past 69 years, our two countries have established and consolidated an all-weather friendship. We respect each other and support each other. We cooperate for common prosperity. We work together to promote regional peace and stability. In the current fight against Covid-19, China and Pakistan stand together and China donated medical equipment and materials of more than $55 million to Pakistan. We take Pakistan as an equal partner and never asked Pakistan to ‘do more’. We support Pakistan’s own model of development and never intervene its domestic affairs. We highlight Pakistan’s responsible role in regional affairs and never exert pressure,” he said.
“The CPEC is an important cooperation project between the governments Pakistan and China. It has always adhered to the principles of mutual benefit, win-win cooperation, openness and transparency. The planning and implementation of the projects are carried out by the two sides through thorough consultations based on equality and scientific study. Chinese companies under the CPEC are all leading companies in their respective sectors and operate in full compliance with local laws and regulations. Since its implementation, the CPEC has brought $25 billion in direct investment and created more than 75,000 jobs for Pakistan. China has been the major source of foreign direct investment (FDI) for Pakistan in the past five consecutive years. While according to the BOI, the FDI from the US to Pakistan was a bit over $1 billion between 2012 and 2019,” he added.
“Since the Covid-19 outbreak, there is zero infection on CPEC projects due to strict measures taken by the both sides. The Chinese companies have not suspended construction nor have they laid-off a single local staff. The CPEC projects have secured local employment and kept contributing to Pakistan’s economy. The energy projects are generating one-third of the electricity for Pakistan now. The Phase II of Karakoram Highway (KKH) is almost ready for traffic. The integrated test and commissioning for the Lahore Orange Line have been successfully completed. The construction of the new airport in Gwadar entered into the second phase. Gwadar has become an economic hub for Baluchistan. All Chinese companies working for the CPEC have generously donated medical assistance to Pakistan in the current difficult situation. Over 20,000 Pakistani students are studying in China on scholarships provided by the Chinese government and universities. In the next stage of the CPEC, both sides will strength the cooperation on health care, industrial development, agriculture and education. The CPEC will give new impetus to Pakistan’s economic revival even in the post Covid-19 period,” he further said.
The spokesperson said that China knows the impact of the Covid-19 on Pakistan’s economy and is sparing no effort to help Pakistan address the challenge