CPEC is at take-off stage: Chinese envoy

ISLAMABAD: China’s Deputy Chief of Mission Zhao Lijian said on Monday that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was at take-off stage under which several projects including Sahiwal power project, Port Qasim power project and four wind power projects would be completed this year under Early Harvest Programme (EHP).

“China has elevated 700 million out of poverty by achieving higher growth for 30 years and now we will share our experience with Pakistan for lifting out people from poverty. The CPEC is under implementation at accelerated pace out of six corridors being built by China in different parts of the country,” China’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Pakistan Zhao Lijian said while addressing a seminar organised by Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS) Islamabad here at the National Library Auditorium on Monday.

He said that under Road and Belt Initiative (RBI) Pakistan and China were finalising framework agreement on Mainline-1 (ML-1) which could become the biggest project under the CPEC as its estimated cost was at $8.5 billion while existing bigger project cost of Multan-Sukkhar motorway stood at $3 billion.

“We are here to help Pakistan for creating win-win situation for both Pakistan and China under CPEC initiative,” he said and added that so far the CPEC was most successful among six corridors launched by China in different parts of the world.

He said that there were 65 countries and multilateral institutions involved into One Belt One Road initiative known as BRI whereby 4.45 billion would get benefit, equivalent to 63 percent population of the globe. It will result into investment of $21 trillion, which is 29 percent of the world’s wealth share. He said that China was seriously working to establish links between Asia and Europe and now rail links from China to UK was becoming reality.

China, he said, had launched six corridors but the CPEC was the most successful one under which 29 projects were identified and 18 projects were under implementation stage with total investment of $28 billion. Under the one initiative, one corridor is aimed at connecting India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and China but projects identified under CPEC would be nearing for completion this year.

He identified that Sahiwal Power Project, Port Qasim Power Project and Wind Power Project would be completed this year as now CPEC had come at the take-off stage.He said that there was political consensus on CPEC as all chief ministers of provincial governments realised the importance of this important initiative.

Dwelling some light on the CPEC mechanism, he said the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) was the highest decision-making process and then four joint working groups (JWGs) were making plans on transport, energy, Gwadar and industrial cooperation.

“Much of the projects are progressing well but there are some facing problems,” he said and added that both sides were cooperating through close coordination for resolving the problems. “There are very few projects related to which problems surface on the media,” he added.

The CPEC planning, he said, was done on scientific basis which aims at creating win-win situation for both the sides. Talking about $46 billion CPEC amount, he said that it was not loan or grant but it was investment into specified projects. There were many projects undertaken in Balochistan and KP and China would be investing $260 million for construction of Gwadar Airport. China, he said, wants to help Balochistan to build its capacity.