Islamabad: China's Ambassador Yao Jing on Friday said that the financial support provided for the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was not a burden on the economy of Pakistan.
He told media in the Chinese embassy that the CPEC was a win-win project for both Pakistan and China and ultimately of huge benefit to Pakistan. "The CPEC is beneficial not only for China but also for Pakistan and it is a wrong impression that only Chinese companies are benefiting from it," Yao said.
As the ambassador said that the "CPEC is not a burden on Pakistan's economy", China's deputy ambassador Lijian Zhao said that it was wrong to attribute Pakistan's economic hardships to Chinese loans.
"China's debt to Pakistan is 6.3 per cent of Pakistan's total debt. Pakistan only has to pay two per cent interest. It has 15 to 20 years to repay the loan. From 2020 to 2021, Pakistan has to pay between $300 million and $400 million," he said.
Lijian said that the CPEC would create 700,000 jobs by 2030, while by 2022 Pakistan's energy needs will be met through various power generation initiatives by China. The deputy ambassador also said that the early harvest project of the CPEC would be by early 2019. He said that out of the 22 projects, 10 had been completed which include seven relating to energy. He said that Iran and Afghanistan could also become part of the CPEC in future.
However, the ambassador said that China was spending $19 billion on the 22 projects, as he hit out at the global powers for trying to undermine the importance of the CPEC for Pakistan.
"Some powers are bothered by Pakistan and China's cooperation, relationship and friendship," Yao said.
He also claimed that Chinese projects were completely transparent and so far no report about any financial misappropriation was received.
Yao also said China would provide all possible assistance to help Pakistan to come out of the current the economic challenges.
"We understand Pakistan right now faces some challenges and definitely as a friend China will extend whatever assistance possible," said the ambassador.
He said China was looking forward to the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan who will pay an official visit to China in the first week of November.
However, the deputy ambassador was more precise to indicate that China will provide financial assistance.
"In terms of financial assistance during the visit of Khan, we will provide hopefully a grant to the Pakistani government and at the end of the visit there will be good news," said Lijian.