US stance on CPEC will have 'no impact' on project: Pak

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday asserted that America's stance on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will have "no impact" on the multi-billion dollar project, days after the US warned Islamabad against the project and said it will take a toll on the country's economy.

The CPEC is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking China's resource-rich Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with Pakistan's strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.

The project was launched in 2015 when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Islamabad and it now envisages investment of over USD 60 billion in different projects of development in Pakistan.

In-charge of South Asia affairs at the US State Department, Alice Wells, last week said that the CPEC would take a toll on Pakistan’s economy in future.

Talking to the media in his home town of Multan, Qureshi rejected the US' "concerns", saying that the vital project would continue.

"Pakistan does not agree with that view. We have rejected that view," Qureshi said. "We do not think that the burden of the CPEC will increase our debt burden."

He said that the CPEC would not increase the debt burden of Pakistan as out of the country's total debt burden is USD 74 billion, the CPEC related debt was just USD 4.9 billion.

His comments followed those of Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar. Both of them rejected the idea of Wells.

Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing on Thursday rejected the US' concerns, saying that the CPEC was immensely helping Pakistan.

"Pak-China relations were based on 'win-win cooperation' and were mutually beneficial for both countries. If Pakistan was in need, China would never ask it to repay its loans in time, whereas, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is mainly governed by the West, was strict in its repayment system," he said.

Yao dismissed the Washington's warning to Islamabad over Beijing’s giant infrastructure push which was heralded as a game-changer by both Asian countries.

"In 2013, when Chinese companies were establishing power plants in Pakistan, where was the US? Why it did not invest in Pakistan's power sector despite knowing that the country was in dire need of electricity,” he asked. 

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