“China’s development achievements have been watched with admiration. I especially hope to learn from China’s achievements and experience in poverty alleviation and anti-corruption.” Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan made the above remarks during a meeting with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yixi in Islamabad on the 9th. He is looking forward to an official visit to China in November this year..
Wang Yi’s two-day trip to Pakistan has attracted much attention. In particular, his use of facts and figures at the press conference on the 8th to show that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor had not aggravated Pakistan’s debt burden. Some American media believe that Wang Yi’s disclosure details are intended to respond to US criticism. The United States once said that Pakistan plans to obtain funds from the International Monetary Fund, for the sole purpose of repaying Chinese loans.
In the talks with Wang Yi on the 9th, Imran Khan stressed that “China has a special position in the hearts of the Palestinian people.” “The Pakistan-China Economic Corridor is an iconic economic cooperation project between the two countries. It is also important to build the ‘One Belt, One Road’ connect. Pakistan is willing to cooperate with China to build this project.”
Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper said on the 9th that Wang Yi was the highest-ranking Chinese official to visit Pakistan since Prime Minister Imran Khan took office. Pakistan’s “National Daily” published a commentary on the 8th saying that the all-weather strategic partnership between China and Pakistan has maintained a good momentum of frequent high-level exchanges, and many fruitful cooperation agreements. The two countries support each other on issues involving their core interests. Prime Minister Imran Khan has specifically mentioned the special friendly relations between China and Pakistan on various occasions.
In addition to meeting Imran Khan, Wang Yi also held talks with Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi, Pakistan Army Chief of Staff, Bajwa and National Assembly Speaker, Kaiser and other political leaders during the visit on 8th and 9th. On the afternoon of the 9th, Wang Yi attended the inauguration ceremony of Pakistani President Alvi.
Attention in the outside world was focused mainly on Wang Yi’s statement about Pakistan’s debt. He detailed a set of figures on the 8th, when he held a press conference with Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi : there are currently 22 cooperative projects under the framework of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, 9 of which have been completed and 13 are under construction, with a total investment of USD 19 billion. This has boosted Pakistan’s economic growth by 1 to 2 percentage points per year and created 70,000 jobs for Pakistanis. Among the 22 projects, 18 were directly invested or assisted by China, and only 4 used Chinese preferential loans. Wang Yi stressed that the results of the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor are real and have not aggravated the debt burden of the Pakistani government.
On the same occasion, Qureshi assured Wang Yi that China-Pakistan relations are time-tested and will not change with changes in government. The Pakistan government continues to prioritize the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as an important project for Pakistan’s social and economic development.
On the 9th, almost all major Pakistani English media such as “Dawn”, “Observer” and “Pakistan Today” published Wang Yi’s statement at the press conference on Pakistani debt and relations between the two countries (pictured).
Reuters said on the 8th that the question whether China had aggravated Pakistan’s debts had become a “sore point” in relations between the two countries. US Secretary of State Pompeo warned in July that any IMF assistance to the Pakistani economy could not be used to repay Chinese loans. This statement was immediately refuted by China and Pakistan as unfounded.
A “Voice of America” report of the 9th said that according to information provided by the Pakistani Finance Minister to the Parliament earlier this month, Beijing’s share of the over $69 billion foreign debt of Pakistan is about $8.4 billion, of which $6 billion pertains to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project loan. And that on the 8th, Wang Yi had said that 47% of the foreign debts held by Pakistan came from multilateral financial institutions. He disclosed this detail in response to criticism from the United States. The report said that Pompeo had just visited Islamabad on the 5th of this month, and tried to reset the US-Pakistan relationship.