Published: Sat, November 03, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

Pakistan likely to get huge economic package from China: Fawad Chaudhry

Pakistan likely to get huge economic package from China: Fawad Chaudhry

China's expected assistance is the second $6 billion package which Khan has managed to obtain in the last few weeks as Pakistan reeled under severe financial crisis.

Pakistan's government has "inherited a very hard economic situation", Khan told Xi.

Xi said he attached "great importance to China-Pakistan relations" and was "willing to work together with the prime minister to strengthen China-Pakistan's all-weather strategic partnership and build a new era of China-Pakistan destiny".

Pakistan has dealt with the question of bailouts before, but the situation is dramatically more complex this time as it seeks an $8 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

India on Wednesday said it has lodged strong protests with China and Pakistan over the proposed bus service between the two countries through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) under the so called "China-Pakistan Economic Corridor" or "CPEC" project.

A former cricket star and opposition politician, Khan has raised questions about the benefits CPEC brings to Pakistan.

"It is not targeted against any third party", he said.

Xi said the two sides should deepen strategic communication, maintain regular visits and meetings between the two countries' leaders and enhance experience-sharing in the governance of a country.

What kind of adjustments the two leaders may make going forward remains unclear. India opposes the project because the creation of the corridor envisages Chinese and Pakistani economic activity in the Gilgit-Baltistan area of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region. The trip "is significant for President Xi Jinping, whose flagship BRI has had hiccups in recent months".

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From Beijing's point of view, Pakistan's criticism of the project was a shocker, especially after China's takeover of Sri Lanka's Hambantota port on a 99-year lease as a debt swap.

Prime Minister Imran Khan met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Friday while on his first official visit to China, Radio Pakistan reported.

Both sides also held a delegation-level meeting. "And so we, as I've said, have come to learn".

In China, scholars and analysts are questioning the huge amount of funds that Beijing is pouring into the belt and road initiative as well. "No other country has tackled poverty and corruption the way China has tackled it", he said.

Online columnist Wei Jia warns that the debt crisis in Pakistan is similar to the sovereign debt crisis Greece experienced in late 2009.

The minister went on to say that the prime minister's China visit would rid the country out of economic crisis.

"Even though situations in global and domestic politics change, the bilateral relations will continue to improve", he said.

Pakistan is already highly dependent on China as the bulk of the foreign loans inherited by Mr Khan's government are with Chinese lenders. Khan will meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Saturday and will attend a massive import expo hosted by Xi in Shanghai next week. Ayaz Gul contributed from Islamabad.

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