ISLAMABAD – A four-member delegation of the official think-tank of the Chinese government, China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), which was headed by its President Ji Zhiye, visited Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Islamabad and held a detailed discussion with DG-IPS Khalid Rahman and senior members of the Institute’s research team.
The focus of the interaction was the ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)’ project which will be formally launched next month during the upcoming visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pakistan.
Both Khalid Rahman and Ji Zhiye underscored the need for removing misconceptions about CPEC in both China and Pakistan by ensuring transparency and access to information about the agreements, investments and the on-ground situation of the various projects to be built and run under it.
Zhiye was of the view that there was media hype about sectors like energy, telecom and railways vis-à-vis CPEC in Pakistan but there was little information in the public domain about the actual projects being undertaken right now such as the textile industrial zone in Faisalabad.
He said, looking at CPEC only from economic perspective was also not appropriate as the geopolitical and geostrategic interests of both China and Pakistan were the most important benefits to be gained from this great project. In the long run, he claimed, the project will not only benefit China, Pakistan and the South Asia region but the whole of Central Asia, West Asia and North Africa will reap its benefits.
He revealed that there were certain lobbies in China, too, that were opposing CPEC on the grounds that China should first eliminate its own economic woes and disparity before making such huge investments in Pakistan.
He also highlighted the fact that terrorism now was not a regional but a global phenomenon and its threat to CPEC was being considered as that of secondary nature. The foremost challenge in the way of CPEC, he viewed, was the misunderstandings being created about it by vested interests.
DG-IPS Khalid Rahman appreciated his views and said that the Chinese government should remain careful about issues which may be exploited by certain elements to harm its image in Pakistan.
He said that international media reports about the turbulence in Xinxiang region and the allegedly ‘oppressive’ measures being taken by the Chinese authorities have so far not affected the unanimous love for China among the people of Pakistan, however, if not checked immediately and handled with care, this issue may be negatively exploited by the elements which does not want to see the strong relationship between China and Pakistan prosper forever.
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