Beijing pooh, poohs US remarks, vows to push CPEC

From Our Correspondent
BEIJING: China on Monday rejected reservations of the US over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and said it would work together with Pakistan to develop the CPEC and advance the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership to bring more benefits to Pakistani people and deliver more benefits to the region and beyond.
“No matter what the US says or does or how it tries to spoil the CPEC development, we will work together with Pakistan to develop CPEC and advance our all-weather strategic cooperative partnership to bring more benefits to Pakistani people and deliver more benefits to the region and beyond,” Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Geng Shuang said while responding to the US State Department’s official Alice Wells’s allegations against the CPEC during his regular briefing held here. The top US official for South Asia last week had criticized the CPEC, a flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and accused it would only benefit China and increase the debt burden on Pakistan.
The spokesperson said that the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan had already responded to that accusation.
And Pakistani officials including, the ministers for foreign affairs and planning and development, speaker of the National Assembly as well as chairman of the Senate committee on foreign affairs refuted what the US official had said.
He observed that Ms. Wells’s remarks were nothing to add anything and added, “She just copied what certain people in the US said to smear the CPEC and BRI.”
Geng Shuang said that both China and Pakistan had refuted such comments and clarified the actual situation many times. But certain individuals in the US repeated their accusations.
“Now, since the US is so bent upon repeating their narrative, I will also try to repeat what we usually say,” he added.
The spokesperson remarked that China while building CPEC always followed the principle of wide consultations, joint contributions and shared benefits putting Pakistani people interest first. Over the five years, important and positive progress had been made in CPEC.
He said, the US ignored the facts and continues to use the so-called debt issue to disrupt CPEC development and drive a wedge between China and Pakistan. “This is so malicious and ill-intentioned.” Clarifying further, he said, in fact, the debts held by Pakistan, half of them came from multilateral financial institutions. In CPEC projects, over 80 percent were directly formed by China and built with Chinese free aid and less than 20 percent used Chinese loans.
US chews back words on CPEC
From Abid Usman
LAHORE: The US Ambassador to Pakistan Monday said the remarks on CPEC by US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia were meant to generate debatehowever it was Pakistan’s sovereign right to decide its future. “We do not expect everyone to agree with us or agree with every aspect of her speech,” Ambassador of the United States of America Paul W Jones said while talking to media after visiting Wazir Khan Mosque to review the ongoing restoration work of some historic houses under the ‘US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation’ (AFCP).
The Ambassador when asked about the statement made by US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Alice Wells gave in Washington D.C about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), said it was very ‘thoughtful speech’, and added that the idea of her speech was to generate debate. He said there should be plenty of debates and discussions which her (Alice Wells) speech was meant to contribute. The top US diplomat for South Asia Thursday said the multi-billion-dollar CPEC project would take a toll on Pakistan’s economy as it was not an aid but a form of financing that guarantees profits for Chinese state-owned enterprises. The Ambassador, accompanied by wife Catherine Jones, said Lahore was a gorgeous city having great culture, commerce, tourism and was a capital of the province of agriculture.