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Islamabad: Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has assured a worried China that its over $50 billion investment under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would be safe and that the strategic project would be completed quickly.
The CPEC is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking southern Pakistan, and the Gwadar Port, to China’s restive Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region. As the CPEC passes through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), India has raised objection to the project.
Prime Minister Abbasi gave the assurance to Beijing when the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan, Sun Weidong called him at the PM office on Thursday, according to a press statement from the Pakistan prime minister’s office.
The ambassador congratulated the prime minister on assuming the office of the prime minister of Pakistan. The Chinese ambassador conveyed the congratulatory message of the Chinese premier Li Keqiang to Prime Minister Abbasi on election as the prime minister of Pakistan.
Sun told Abbasi that the Chinese leadership is happy to see the smooth transition in Pakistan and it will continue to support the government of Pakistan in the development and prosperity of Pakistan, the statement said.
Prime Minister Abbasi thanked the ambassador and conveyed his good wishes for the Chinese leadership. “The prime minister said that he will work to implement CPEC as it was being implemented, and he will personally supervise the speedy completion of all the projects under the CPEC. Beyond CPEC, our economic cooperation will further enhance,” the prime minister stated.
Ambassador Sun said that China is a close friend of Pakistan and both the countries have strategic partnership. “During the last four years, the bilateral relationship has attained new heights; under your leadership, it will further strengthen,” Sun said.
Foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua and other senior officials were present during the meeting, the statement said. China’s official media this week reported that Nawaz Sharif’s resignation as Pakistan Prime Minister may bring “some uncertainties” to the CPEC, though it may not “impede” the all-weather bilateral ties.
“The disqualification of Nawaz Sharif would likely bring some uncertainties to the ongoing CPEC project. Pakistan political parties have some disagreements on the project, especially whether the east or west route of the project should be given priority,” an article in the Global Times said. However, Sharif’s resignation will not impede China- Pakistan relations, it added.