ISLAMABAD: Speakers at the third China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Media Forum on Monday called upon Pakistan and China to build a new corridor of education, information and media cooperation under the CPEC mechanism which would take the collaboration to a new level of cooperation between the two time-tested friendly neighbours.
The forum, held under the aegis of Pakistan-China Institute in collaboration with the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, was held for improving the exchange of information and promoting media collaboration to support and supplement the CPEC projects.
Speaking as chief guest during his first public appearance, the Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing said that integrated cooperation in the fields of media and culture between the two countries has the capacity to play a crucial role in the success of the implementation of CPEC projects.
The newly-appointed Chinese envoy said that the CPEC has become an important element of Pakistan-China friendship and its success would greatly depend upon the dissemination of positive news regarding the corridor by media persons from both countries.
The Chinese ambassador said that CPEC is not only meant as a strategy to boost cooperation between the two countries but it would also play an important role in bringing prosperity and socio-economic development to the entire region. He said that the Chinese embassy would remain open for media personnel for accurate and authentic information sharing. He also promised more interactive sessions which would be held with the media.
Parliamentary Committee on CPEC Chairman Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)N by China was the most important project of the 21st century which would connect over 65 countries from Africa, Asia, Middle East and Europe through corridors.
He added that CPEC was the flagship project of the BRI and it has become a symbol of national unity within Pakistan. The media forum, he said, would help in enhancing cooperation and contacts in the information and cultural sectors of the two countries. He said that next year, Pakistan-China Institute would hold media workshops in various cities of Pakistan for more collaborations and more information cooperation to the grassroots level media professionals.
Mushahid Hussain said: “Mr Yao Jing is a friend of Pakistan, this is his third stint here and we welcome him with open arms and warm hearts.”
Mushahid said that the discourse on CPEC has transformed largely and China has helped transform Pakistan’s image from a country facing troubles to a newly emerging economic powerhouse where each country could invest and benefit from.
He said: “China’s peaceful rise has set a new model of excellence which could benefit the emerging economies of the world. Its’ successful lifting of 700 million people from poverty has proved that in today’s world, nations can grow without an agenda of domination, hegemony and grab of resources of other countries.”
He also said that China’s model of regional cooperation and connectivity has thwarted designs of those countries that are collaborating for another cold war to contain China’s rise.
Responding to questions, Senator Mushahid Hussain said that in the total 300 CPEC projects, China did not employ a single Chinese labourer, rather 60,000 Pakistanis had been provided jobs. He said less than 20,000 Chinese nationals had arrived Pakistan to work on these projects as investors, engineers and scientists.
PTI Senator Azam Khan Swati said that CPEC was a God-given opportunity for Pakistan and all parties fully backed the Chinese vision of regional development. He said irrespective of the conspiracies being hatched by the enemy, Pakistan would keep marching on the path of development.
He said that PTI Chairman Imran Khan was the biggest advocate of the CPEC which would put Pakistan on a fast-paced but peaceful development route.
Calling CPEC the mother of economic revivals, Swati said that he had asked his youngest son, Barrister Usman Khan, to return from a US state, where he was serving as deputy mayor.
“Now Usman is learning mandarin here at a local language institute,” he added.
Senator General (R) Abdul Qayyum said that under CPEC, the two countries had entered a new era of bilateral coordination in a range of sectors including social, economy, and culture. He said China had already transferred technology to Pakistan for army hardware which has enabled Pakistan has developed Al-Khalid tanks and JF-17 thunder fighter jets.
CEO and President of China Economic Net Wang Xudong proposed more and more interactions and joint collaborative projects between the media houses of Pakistan and China for the correct dissemination of information to the peoples of both countries. He said that the media should promote its outreach to the Chinese business centres to understand their sensitivities.
He urged the media of both countries to work for a positive coverage of each other’s initiatives as the interests of both the friendly states had converged. Wang said that media agencies of both countries must join forces to help supplement the business opportunities provided under mutual collaborative projects.
Presenting a detailed briefing, CPEC Ministry of Planning and Development Project Director Hassan Daud Butt said that the CPEC was the most actively pursued project of One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative and that the project had now become a reality in which some of its early harvest projects had been completed.
He informed the media forum that the western and eastern routes of CPEC would be completed by the year 2019 and besides the implementation of a number of projects in infrastructure, energy, and railways sectors under CPEC, the two countries were also focusing on enhancing people to people contacts by the exchange of educational and media delegations.
Hassan Daud apprised the forum that after CPEC, the country’s economic growth had risen by 2-3 per cent while the energy crisis had also subsided after completion of energy projects under the corridor.
CPEC Media Forum President Hafiz Tahir Khalil said that the purpose of establishing the forum was to keep the people of both countries updated regarding the mega project of CPEC. He said that journalists from both countries should promote the positive aspects of the corridor and dispel negative reports being propagated by the neighbouring country.
He invited international journalists to also become part of this forum as CPEC’s benefits were not limited to only the two countries.
Senator Afrasiab Khattak, in a bid to study each other’s history, culture and to further promote bilateral relations, proposed to launch departments in universities of the two countries.
Tsinghua University Professor Dr Li Xiguang said the Indian media was trying to portray a negative perception about CPEC but had failed to attach any controversy to the project. Giving historical perspective, the professor said Gilgit Baltistan was a part and parcel of Pakistan and it can’t be declared as a disputed territory.
He called upon the media persons from both countries to play their role in dispelling the Indian negative propaganda against the Corridor.
Vsh TV President Ahmed Iqbal Baloch said that he was immensely impressed by the phenomenal growth of China over the past few decades. He said that Balochistan could benefit from the Chinese investments and that pro-people projects in Gwadar were the need of the hour.
He concluded by saying that the Pakistani and Chinese officials must focus on transferring the fruits of CPEC to the people of Baluchistan. Chinese journalists Wang Lin, Alvin Wang and others also spoke on the occasion.