BEIJING: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has achieved major progress since its launch seven years ago, bringing a total of $25 billion of direct investments to the country, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
During his regular briefing in Beijing, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin noted that many projects has been started or completed under CPEC, a dynamic project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) launched by President Xi Jinping.
He particularly mentioned the completion of Orange Line Metro Line (OLMT) in Lahore, Pakistan’s first electric-powered public transport project. “Last month as an early harvest project, the Orange Line, was made operational, marking the beginning of the subway era for Pakistan,” he said.
Wang said that projects completed under CPEC, had enhanced infrastructure and power supply in Pakistan and created employment opportunities for the locals and contributed towards the growth of gross domestic product (GDP).
“These projects enhanced infrastructure and electricity supply in the country and created more than 70,000 direct positions and contributed 1 to 2 percentage points of the country’s GDP growth,” the spokesperson added.
Giving example of Afghanistan which was importing food and other essential items through the Gwadar port, Wang noted that CPEC had not only promoted development in the two countries but also helped regional connectivity and prosperity.
“Gwadar port, since first half of this year, started shipping cargo, weighing about 20,000 tones that carried wheat, sugar and fertilisers to Afghanistan, the spokesperson told reporters. “This created about 1,000 jobs,” he added.
Reiterating support to the flagship project, which was launched after the consensus of the leaderships of the two countries, he said, China’s support to CPEC would continue as the two countries “will work together to implement our leaders’ consensus”.
“The existing programmes are focusing more on cooperation in livelihood, industry and agriculture to change CPEC into a demonstration project of high quality BRI development and to bring more benefits to our two countries and the region,” he added.
Appreciating the positive remarks made by Pakistan’s top leaderships towards the CPEC projects, Wang said: “We have noted the remarks about CPEC which is an important pilot project and flagship projects of China-Pakistan cooperation and BRI development.”
In response to a question about third party and other countries’ participation in CPEC, he said that the Chinese side would welcome interested countries to join the project and other projects of BRI to jointly contribute to regional and global stability and prosperity.