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CPEC 2018 Summit: Pakistan to be the new BRI benchmark

As China marks 40 years of sustained progress, China’s Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing reaffirms Pakistan’s pivotal role in furthering regional cooperation.

IT was an honour and a pleasure to be present at the CPEC Summit held in Karachi. On behalf of the Chinese Government, I would like to appreciate the Pakistani Government, the Sindh Government as well as the other provincial governments and all the scopes of the society of Pakistan for sharing this kind of enthusiasm, sharing this kind of participation of the Sino-Pak cooperation and friendship in the wake of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Today, as the Ambassador to Pakistan, I would like to elaborate some views from the Chinese side, how China looks at the relationship with Pakistan and how China looks at that cooperation with Pakistan. As we are well aware, the year 2018 is the 40th anniversary of China’s policy of opening up and the process of reforms.

In China, all the leaders, the government officials, intellectuals, business people as well as the common people, are also looking at the past experience of the 40 years’ development since the opening up and the process of reforms. I think that we have concluded several of the experiences.

I think, basically, first we need to see the development of China compared to what the scene was 40 years ago when the Chinese Government and the Chinese people made a very important decision; that we will concentrate all resources on economic development and that we will concentrate all the resources on the betterment and the well-being of the people of the nation.

For the past 40 years, successive Chinese leaderships and the Chinese governments have made every effort to promote and to develop our economy and our social well-being. For the past 40 years, the annual growth of the GDP is about 9.5 per cent and we have elevated or helped more than 700 million people come out of poverty. This is a big achievement, not only for China but also for the world.

The second conclusion we have shared about the experience of the past 40 years’ opening up is that we have to develop our own nation according to our own conditions. We have to find a route and find roadmap which is based on our national conditions.

China is vast. China is very much diversified, and China has the largest population in the world. For the past 40 years, the Chinese Government and the Chinese people, are very firmly insisting on carrying forward a basic social system that is socialism, but also adopts an economic model that we call market economy. By combining socialism and market economy, we have become today the second largest economy in the world.

Thirdly, the conclusion we have made after 40 years’ efforts is that we have to carry forward the spirit of reform and of innovation. By reform and innovation, our government and our people can always find the momentum and find the dynamics for better development and a better model of governance.

Last but not the least conclusion we have made is that we have to stick to the openness, inclusiveness and also to a win‑win cooperation with the other partners. Chinese development has reached a new stage and a new era of the win‑win cooperation and the joint development with all the major neighbours and international partners.

It was with this background that I came to Pakistan and to the CPEC. I think a few weeks ago, the Honourable Prime Minister had a very important meeting in Boao Forum for Asia with our President, Mr. Xi Jinping, and our president made a summarisation of our bilateral relationship with Pakistan. That is basically the orientation of our policy towards Pakistan.

President Xi said China wants to see the relationship with Pakistan as an example of our good‑neighbourly relations. China wants to see that our relationship with Pakistan is a pillar for regional peace and stability. China wants to see our relationship with Pakistan as a new benchmark of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This is, I think, a major consensus reached by the two leaderships. We are following it and we are working hard to promote and enhance this cooperation.

The China‑Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), I think, is very significant. From the Chinese side, we look at CPEC as a very significant project, not only with Pakistan but it is also very significant for the whole world. I think that under the CPEC framework it is a new demonstration of our relationship and partnership with Pakistan. First of all, I think the CPEC demonstrates our devotion and also resolve to further promote our common development and also promote win‑win cooperation.

Since 2013, when the Chinese Government started this Belt and Road Initiative, we were looking at all of our neighbours. We were looking at all of the potential partners. Pakistan was, is and will be the priority of our cooperation. We have the strongest political foundations of our political relationship. We have a long history of cooperation and people‑to‑people understanding for us to build a new mode of partnership. So CPEC came to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

After almost five years of practice and implementation from both sides, I am very proud that the CPEC has come into a shape that we can deliver to the development and well‑being of the whole Pakistani Nation.

Under the CPEC framework, we have 43 projects in the pipeline and right now we have already 22 projects which have been completed or are ongoing projects. We have development of the Gwadar Port in Balochistan. We have projects in road, motorways, highways and rail links. We also have projects in the energy sector, but, more importantly, right now we are working hard on the project under the special economic zones (SEZs). These SEZs will involve mainly the private sectors from both sides.

The result and benefits of the CPEC have started to to be visible. CPEC has demonstrated the devotion and the resolve of the two countries, the two nations of China and Pakistan to work together for the common prosperity of the whole region, target our devotion towards regional connectivity to have a better tomorrow for the whole region. I think CPEC basically could open the door for regional cooperation and for regional development. This is the responsibility of both Pakistan and China that we will lead and we will assist in regional development and prosperity. The final significance from our point of view is that this kind of cooperation will increase and inject more momentum and will add to the dynamics of our new concept of state‑to‑state relations and for our new concept of building a community of shared destiny.

CPEC collaboration in not only in the economic field; it involves the common peoples’ future and destiny. Under CPEC, we want to see participation of the whole society, not only from Pakistan but also from China and, in the future, maybe the participation of regional nations and regional people. When we target our destiny in terms of a better life, a better future, we believe we are moving in the correct direction. We believe that with the efforts from both sides, we can contribute to a new paradigm, a new concept of regional cooperation and regional development.

The Chinese Government and the Chinese people have every determination to make CPEC deliver. We have every determination to make it benefit the two nations, and the whole region at large.

About Fariha Khan

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