ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Pakistan on Thursday dismissed the US’s assertion that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project had pushed Pakistan to the debt crises, and clarified that the total CPEC debt was about US$ 4.9 billion which wasn’t even the 10 percent of the Country’s total debt.
Last Tuesday, the Senior US diplomat Alice Wells in her remarks at an Islamabad-based think tank alleged that there was no transparency in CPEC projects, and claimed that Pakistan’s debt burden was growing due to the Chinese financing.
In its response a day after, the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad strongly opposed the US interference in CPEC, and warned the United States against meddling in Pakistan-China relations.
According to Radio Pakistan, in her weekly media briefing in Islamabad, the Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said the CPEC was a long term project negotiated through a multi-layered process, and it had helped Pakistan to address development gaps in energy, infrastructure, industrialization, and job creation.
The Spokesperson said Pakistan and China were all-weather strategic cooperative partners. She added the CPEC was a transformational project for Pakistan and its expeditious completion was their top priority.
Aisha Farooqui further said 12 CPEC-related power projects having the total capacity of 7,240 megawatts had either been completed or were under construction with an investment of US$ 12.4 billion while another nine power projects were at an early stage with the capacity of 6,390 megawatts.
The Foreign Office Spokesperson also pointed out that those energy projects contributed over 14 percent of the total energy supplies in Pakistan. She said those projects had also paid about US$ 250 million in taxes during the construction phase and had created over 10,000 jobs.
Islamabad Correspondent adds
In a state of affairs where United States is claiming non-transparency in CPEC projects and Chinese Embassy in Pakistan is strongly rejecting such claims, response came from Spokesperson of Foreign Office of Pakistan on Thursday during her weekly briefing left a blur scene for readers about who to blame for misguiding readers?
On Thursday, the Spokesperson of Foreign Office of Pakistan during her weekly briefing faced several questions from journalists in reference to statement of Ambassador Wells.
Pointers of questions raised by journalists include:
- Ambassador Alice Wells says there is no transparency in CPEC project and companies blacklisted by the World Bank has got contracts in the CPEC. What is real situation?
- Why the Foreign Office has not responded as yet to the remarks made by Ambassador Wells on CPEC, whereas the Chinese Embassy has reacted strongly on this?
- Is it not (Statement of Ambassador Wells) interference in the internal matters between Pakistan and China?
- Ambassador Wells also criticized ML-1 project of railways. Would you please comment on this?
- It is not the first time that Ambassador Alice Wells has expressed her concerns on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. Has she also conveyed her concerns on the issue of CPEC during her meetings in the Foreign Office?
- The remarks by Ambassador Alice Wells and reaction of Chinese Embassy were very strong. What is Foreign Office official take on?
Her answer was:
Pakistan and China are “All-Weather Strategic Co-operative Partners”. We have already underscored that the CPEC is a transformational project. The expeditious completion of the CPEC project is the number one priority of our government. In that regard, recently CPEC Authority has been established to oversee completion of projects across the country.
Since the launch of CPEC, in energy sector, 12 power projects have either been completed or are under construction with total capacity of 7,240 MW and investment of USD 12.4 billion. Another 9 projects are at an early stage with total capacity of 6,390 MW. CPEC energy projects contribute over 14 % of total energy supply in Pakistan, which could be supplied to over 33 million people on per capita power use basis. In addition, these projects have paid about USD 250 million in taxes during construction period and have created over 10,000 jobs.
There are a number of projects that are financed through Chinese grants and concessional loans. To claim that CPEC is always in the form of loans or other forms of financing, often non-concessional with sovereign guarantees is not based on facts. The total CPEC debt is about 4.9 billion dollars which is not even 10% of our total debt.
It is reiterated that CPEC, a long-term project negotiated through multi-tiered processes, has helped address development gaps in energy, infrastructure, industrialization, and job creation in Pakistan. It should be perceived in terms of its enormous economic benefits for the people of Pakistan and our socio-economic development. We believe it is also beneficial in the context of both regional connectivity and prosperity. All countries are welcome to invest in SEZs of CPEC.
Whosoever was listening her answers felt that:
- She did not answer whether claims of Ambassador Wells for hiring companies blacklisted by the World Bank getting contracts in the CPEC is true or false?
- She did not answer whether statements of Ambassador Alice Wells are interference in the internal matters between Pakistan and China or not?
- She did not answer whether claims of Ambassador Wells about alleged non-transparency in ML-1 project of railways are true or false?
- She did not answer whether Ambassador Wells conveyed her concerns on the issue of CPEC during her meetings in the Foreign Office this week?
Who will answer straight and with clarity about claims Ambassador Wells is raising against CPEC since a year?
Answer is awaited.