Xi meets Pakistani prime minister

Ivan Schwartz
November 3, 2018

Prime Minister Imran Khan told Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday of Pakistan's "very difficult" economic situation, on a trip seen as vital to Islamabad's efforts to obtain fresh loans.

China has repeatedly said that the Indian-Pakistani territorial dispute had to be settled through dialogue between the two sides.

In reference to PM Imran Khan's visit to China, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry had said the nation would soon receive a very good news.

China has in total pledged more than $60 billion to Pakistan in the form of loans and investments for roads, ports, power plants and industrial parks. However, there was no immediate official comment from Beijing on the report.

Pakistan Finance Minister Asad Umar, who is accompanying Khan, earlier told media in Islamabad that his government's strategy was to seek loans from multiple sources instead of asking the International Monetary Fund (IMF) alone to plug the entire gap in the country's financing needs.

In the meeting, the two sides discussed strengthening of bilateral relations and matters of mutual regional and global interests, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

Khan, who arrived in Beijing on Thursday evening for a five-day visit - his first to the city since his election victory in August - said before he left that he wanted to learn more from China, which is not only Pakistan's strategic partner but also its biggest foreign investor and aid donor.

"I think that it's in China's best long-term interest to be able to show some flexibility and be able to cancel some projects that fail, frankly", Hillman said.

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He said Pakistan faced a deficit of $27 billion which included $9 billion debt repayment this year.

Both leaders reinforced their shared commitment to taking their all-weather and time-tested Pak-China friendship to new heights, and further strengthening the existing multifaceted equation of the two countries for theirs and the regions's benefit, Radio Pakistan reported.

Pakistan is already highly dependent on China as the bulk of the foreign loans inherited by Mr Khan's government are with Chinese lenders.

According to the details, PM Imran Khan met with the AIIB President on the side line of China International Import Expo.

The statements evoked serious concerns in China as the CPEC is the flagship project of President Xi's pet multi-billion BRI.

"China wants to avoid such transparency because exposing the terms of the CPEC project agreements could validate the United States criticism of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a debt trap for emerging economies", the Post report said.

In an interview to the Chinese state-run media ahead of his visit, Khan said the CPEC has given Pakistan a great opportunity to bring in foreign investment and to get out of the hard economic situation it is facing.

Mr. Lu stressed that the CPEC was an "economic project", and did not reflect China's position on Kashmir.

Other reports by GizPress

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