Chinese ambassador quells concerns about Saudi CPEC inclusion

Business Desk

The Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing has expressed no objection about the inclusion of Saudi Arabia and other countries in CPEC. Speaking at a meeting with businessmen and journalists at two separate functions in Quetta on Wednesday, the Chinese representative expressed openness to the idea of new investors, particularly from Riyadh.

However, last week Pakistan clarified that it would not be including a third party in CPEC itself. It specified Joint Working Groups (JWGs) or Joint Coordination Committees (JCCs) under whom it would include third parties in the project such as Pakistan – Saudi Arabia – China or China – Pakistan -Japan.

The clarification from the government came following the Saudi delegation’s visit to Pakistan in which it expressed interest in financing an oil refinery in Gawadar port. The visit of the Saudi delegation led to questions in the Senate where the opposition questioned whether China’s consent was given for Saudi inclusion in CPEC projects.

The Chinese ambassador’s announcement yesterday is said to quell those concerns, the ambassador clarified CPEC’s objectives which are to expand CPEC up to Central Asian states vis a vis Afghanistan.

The ambassador further stated that reviewing of CPEC projects is by way of routine considering the new PTI led government is in office.

The ambassador responded positively to a suggestion for opening a Chinese consulate in Quetta, upon the request of the business community that was present. He said CPEC was focussing on Balochistan as it was a network for it to access parts of Central Asia and Afghanistan.

On another occasion, the working group of the IMF to Pakistan clarified that China’s involvement in Pakistan’s economy is not the cause of Pakistan’s debt burden. A Chinese official, Lu Kang said that CPEC will promote development on the Pakistani side in the long run and Pakistan’s latest bailout package will not be affected by projects under CPEC which are conducive to regional connectivity and prosperity.

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