Pak-China CPEC project will hamstring PM Imran Khan's reform agenda: US

WION Web Team Washington Nov 22, 2019, 08.06 AM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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In early November, Pakistan had sought a $9 billion loan from China to finance road and infrastructure projects related to the CPEC project.

The Trump administration said on Thursday that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC) "is going to take a growing toll on the Pakistan economy, especially when the bulk of payments start to come due in the next four to six years."

Alice Wells, US acting assistant secretary of state for South Asia speaking at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said:"CPEC relies primarily on Chinese workers and supplies, even amid rising unemployment in Pakistan," adding, "Even if loan payments are deferred, they are going to continue to hang over Pakistan's economic development potential, hamstringing Prime Minister (Imran) Khan's reform agenda."

The CPEC, which connects Gwadar Port in Balochistan with China's Xinjiang province, is the flagship project of Chinese President Xi Jinping's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

"It's clear, or it needs to be clear, that CPEC is not about aid," Wells said.

In early November, Pakistan had sought a $9 billion loan from China to finance road and infrastructure projects related to the CPEC project. Pakistan and China jointly opened the 392 km Multan-Sukkur Motorway with funding from China.

Pakistan Opposition had earlier called the setting up of the CPEC authority through an ordinance an "illegal"  in violation of recommendations of the parliamentary committee concerned.

The Pakistani President had promulgated an ordinance for the establishment of the  China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority(CPECA) to ensure the timely completion of the projects.

A US-based market analyst had earlier said that the CPEC is aimed as a "resource extraction exercise" rather than a job creation and development project while pointing out that there is a growing imbalance in trade between Pakistan and China. 

During a meeting with Chinese officials in Islamabad, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had said that "Pakistan attaches great importance to the CPEC projects" while asserting that he was greatly satisfied with the "all-weather and time-tested Pak-China friendship transforming into a robust economic partnership".