ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz Friday said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) could act as a bulwark against forces of extremism and terrorism by engaging local youth in meaningful employment and presenting them with new economic opportunities.
“CPEC is a recipe for alleviating poverty for millions of people by providing alternative livelihoods,” the Advisor said addressing an event on “One Belt One Road and its Positive Connotations for Pakistan and its Adjoining Region as well as Security Issues pertaining to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” held here.
He said CPEC was also a catalyst for regional economic integration. It would foster regional harmony and forge closer relations among China, Pakistan and our neighbours, he added.
The minister thanked Ikram Sehgal, Vice Chairman, Karachi Council on Foreign Relations, for arranging this event and also welcomed Dr. Manli Cheng, Dean and the faculty of National Institute of Strategic Communication (NISC) at Peking University to Pakistan and to this event.
He said the focus of Peking University’s NISC is currently on One Belt One Road and CPEC that would certainly promote better understanding of these landmark initiatives and contribute to their successful implementation.
He said One Belt One Road was a visionary concept of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Under the concept of One Belt One Road, the Chinese President has proposed creating Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road.
This has transformed a traditional concept of Silk Road, found in old chronicles, fables and fairy tales, into a viable policy instrument for economic prosperity through regional connectivity and integration, he added.
“I believe that important features of the two Silk Roads proposed by Chinese leadership are openness and beneficial cooperation. Thus One Belt and One Road initiative enables all countries and regions to share the bounties of economic development, based on win-win cooperation.
Sartaj Aziz said CPEC was a flagship project of One Belt One Road initiative. It is a vital bridge that connects the Road and the Belt. Located at crossroads of Central Asia, the Middle East and South Asia, Pakistani seaport of Gwadar, on Northern Arabian Sea near Persian Gulf, is at the confluence of both the Road and the Belt.
The Foreign Advisor said by linking China with Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, CPEC would optimize trade potential and enhance energy security of China, Pakistan and our wider region.
“Thus, it will directly benefit three billion people inhabiting China, South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East,” he said.
He said for China, CPEC would further promote a peaceful neighbourhood it desired to continue on its path towards peaceful development and national rejuvenation.
“A successful CPEC sets example for China’s similar projects with other countries and benefit the grand plan of One Road and One Belt. That’s why we say building CPEC is like building the Road and Belt,” he remarked.
Sartaj Aziz said for Pakistan, CPEC would tap Pakistan’s enormous natural and human resources, address acute energy shortfalls, modernize Pakistan’s transport infrastructure to contemporary requirements, inject a strong impulse for national economic development and help in building a knowledge-based, egalitarian society.
He said for both China and Pakistan, CPEC would instill greater vitality and a stronger economic content to all-weather strategic partnership.
He emphasized that CPEC should not be viewed in the prism of regional power dynamics, old style alliance formation or `Zero-sum relationship’ between different countries.
“The spirit of CPEC is cooperation and not confrontation; collaboration and not competition. It is a win-win project for everybody in the region and beyond. CPEC contributes towards a regional and an international order based on shared prosperity, mutual benefits and economic convergence,” Sartaj Aziz said.