MULTAN: One day after a Chinese official said that all efforts to undermine the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project would fail, the foreign minister of Pakistan said that Islamabad was strongly committed to preserving the multi-billion dollar project.
“For Pakistan, CPEC is a game changer. Some officials want to stop this initiative. [However] Pakistan and China are going to ensure their security,’ Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Saturday while speaking to people in his hometown of Multan.
“The mega project is linked to our future as well as the region’s future. The government is firmly committed to protecting the CPEC. China is also well aware of its importance,” he said.
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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao told the micro-blogging website Twitter on Friday that any effort to disrupt the CPEC project would not succeed.
China appreciates Pakistan’s constructive contribution to the international cause of counter-terrorism, and actively supports Pakistan in its crackdown on terrorist forces.
“Tentatives aimed at sabotaging CPEC are doomed to fail,” Lijian said.
Lijian had voiced similar views earlier in Beijing during his daily press briefing, when referring to a query about a news conference jointly held last week in Islamabad by Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Pakistan’s chief military spokesman, Major General Babar Iftikhar.
A dossier containing “irrefutable evidence” of India’s funding of terrorism in Pakistan was revealed by Qureshi and Maj Gen Iftikhar at a news conference. Qureshi and Iftikhar said India was attempting to undermine the CPEC.
The spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry said any effort to disrupt the flagship project would not be successful. “I have already given my response on this issue. No attempt to sabotage CPEC will succeed.”
He reiterated that CPEC is an important and groundbreaking Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project and is important not only for the two countries’ joint growth, but also for regional connectivity and prosperity.
“We are confident that with support of the international community, China and Pakistan can work together to ensure CPEC’s success,” he said.
Qureshi also attacked the last PML-N government on Saturday, claiming it caused tremendous damages to the nation by not naming a full-time foreign minister for a four-year term. The foreign policy of the last government was really poor as the country was isolated internationally, he added.
The Foreign Minister said that Prime Minister Imran Khan recognises and gives tremendous attention to the value of foreign policy. “Now because of a successful foreign policy, Pakistan has attained a higher international status,” he said.
Regarding the recent visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Afghanistan, the Foreign Minister said Pakistan is doing its utmost to ensure peace in war-torn Afghanistan and stability in the country. “As talks among the stakeholders in Afghanistan are underway, the Afghan peace process has entered its final stage.”
He said Pakistan had been of the opinion from day one that stability in Afghanistan could be restored by talks and not through the use of force. “Prime Minister Imran Khan has reiterated the same message during his recent visit to Afghanistan,” Qureshi said.
He said Pakistan will continue to provide assistance in Afghanistan for a permanent peace. We also concentrated on extending the spectrum of bilateral relations,” said the Foreign Minister. He said in various sessions, both sides also expressed the desire to strengthen trade ties and regional coordination.”