The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a major and pilot project under the Belt and Road Initiative, has made progress and benefited local people, top Chinese diplomat said on Sunday.
The CPEC project goes well on the whole and the completed part is bringing tangible benefits to local people, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong said in an interview with Xinhua.
Sun said the two countries had launched a host of early harvest projects focusing on energy and transport infrastructure to meet Pakistan’s immediate needs.
In the energy sector, 16 projects have been sorted out to be implemented first, which can generate 10.4 million kilowatts of electricity in total, Sun said, adding that half of the projects have been under construction, and will help Pakistan ease its power shortages.
A solar power plant in the city of Bahawalpur, built by the Chinese company ZTE Energy, has recently installed a 300-megawatt generator unit, which can produce 480 million kWh annually, enough to satisfy the daily power consumption of at least 200,000 Pakistani families, Sun said.
Regarding transportation, Sun said, phase II of the Karakorum highway, the Multan-Sukkur section of the Lahore-Karachi highway, and the Pakistan portion of a cross-border optical cable project are already underway.
As the largest transportation project under the CPEC, the 392 km-long Multan-Sukkur stretch is expected to create nearly 10,000 jobs at the peak of its construction, the ambassador added.
According to incomplete statistics, the CPEC projects under construction have employed more than 6,000 Pakistani workers by the end of March, not mention the employment indirectly created and driven by the projects, Sun said.
Furthermore, Chinese companies participating in CPEC helped residents in remote areas of Pakistan gain access to clean water, electricity and better transportation.
China’s Three Gorges Corporation and Tebian Electric Apparatus have provided generators, solar lights and water purification units to residents in remote regions while China Road and Bridge Corporation has repeatedly helped locals build makeshift bridges and water ducts and taken part in rescue and relief operations.
The China Development Bank, Huawei, China State Construction Engineering Corporation, as well as other Chinese entities, have also sponsored Pakistanis to receive further education in China, donated school buses to Gwadar and set up education funds, which have received wide praise from the local population.
According to Sun, the government, the parliament, the military, the media, and think tanks in Pakistan are all paying close attention to the progress of CPEC and offering their full support.
The CPEC, which highlights energy, transport, the Gwadar port and industrial cooperation at the current stage, has formed the “1+4” layout, and will seek to expand cooperation to such sectors as finance, science and technology, education, poverty alleviation, and urban planning.
“The CPEC is a mutually-beneficial and win-win cooperation, which will contribute to the prosperity and development of China, Pakistan and the region and the building of a community of shared destiny between the two countries,” Sun said.
“We will fully implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of China and Pakistan, and push forward the construction of CPEC to benefit the Chinese and Pakistani peoples,” Sun added.