BEIJING: Prime Minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the most visible part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping. This project has also helped Pakistan in overcoming energy crisis, he added.
“The CPEC is the most visible part of BRI towards the West today, which has helped Pakistan grow. It has helped overcome the energy crisis in Pakistan,” he said in an interview with China Global Television Network (CGTN) on the sidelines of Boao Forum for Asia.
The prime minister is currently in China to attend the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference being held in the southern island province of Hainan.
He said due to the project, connectivity was improving in Pakistan, adding, “We are building over 1,700 kilometres of a multi-lane motorway, as well as special economic zones.”
PM Abbasi said that Gwadar port was now operational and providing access for Central Asian Republics (CARS) to the sea.
While commenting on Pakistan-China relations, he said the time-tested relationship between the two countries was 70 years old. “Over the years, both the countries have strengthened these relations with military and economic cooperation, which have further grown with President Xi’s development projects,” he added.
He also said Pakistan and China shared strong bilateral relations, which he hoped would continue growing in the future.
Talking about the state of the economy and the devaluing of the Pakistani rupee, the prime minister said the rupee had to find its real value. “What is happening now is a correction in the value of the rupee.”
He said the government was making all-out efforts to ensure the continuation of economic growth. “We have been experiencing five per cent growth for the last two years. We hope to achieve plus six per cent sustainable growth rate,” he added.
When asked why Pakistan wanted to keep Chinese currency as a reserve currency for trade transactions, PM Abbasi said it was very beneficial for bilateral trade, which was improving at a fast rate.
“Since there is pressure on the dollar reserve, I think the move towards the Chinese yuan would be a positive step for both Pakistan and China,” he added.
He also said that Pakistan adopted yuan as a reserve currency under its financial management strategy. “On the other hand, it would help yuan become an international currency,” he added.
Moreover, the prime minister said that China was a champion of economic liberalisation while the United States (US) was more inclined towards protectionism. Pakistan did not believe in protectionism as liberalisation was the only way forward, he added.
Pakistan, he said, would join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in June in Qingdao, adding the inclusion of Pakistan would also benefit other parties.
Abbasi, who would meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the conference, said he believed in the vision of China, not just for the region but also for the world.