BEIJING: China has welcomed Saudi Arabia’s investment in Pakistan, hoping it will give additional support to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The investment cooperation worth US$20 billion signed between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia during the Saudi crown prince’s visit is good news for the construction of CPEC as well, says Chinese media quoting official sources.
“The corridor has been encouraging investment from the third parties,” Tang Mengsheng, director of the Centre for Pakistan Studies at Peking University told China Daily on Tuesday.
He said that the investment to the Gwadar port would actively promote the construction of the China-involved project.
Tang remarked that the investment could to some extent relieve the economic difficulties Pakistan is facing. “It is not a surprise for Saudi Arabia to visit and invest in Pakistan as the two countries have had a friendly relationship for a long time, sharing the same religion and similar history,” Tang said.
The crown prince said that Pakistan is a “dear country” to all Saudis and that the two countries “have walked together in tough and good times”. “We believe that Pakistan is going to be a very, very important country in the coming future and we want to be sure we are part of that,” he noted.
As for the tour, the Chinese scholar opined that it was also Saudi Arabia’s attempt to shift its strategic focus to Asia as well as its economic structure from a single oil economy to a more complex system with investment and other areas.
“It could be an attempt to get rid of its diplomatic difficulties, but more importantly, I think Saudi Arabia is trying to diversify its economy, by for example the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI),” Tang said, adding that the sign could be seen from Saudi king’s visit to Asia in 2017, which included Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, and China.