BEIJING – China and Pakistan are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and also the 10th anniversary of the launch of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a BRI flagship project, and analysts said that the CPEC, which has helped with Pakistan’s economic and social development, will bring more benefits to local people as the two countries further deepen cooperation.
Special Representative of President Xi Jinping and Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng continued his visit in Pakistan on Monday.
China and Pakistan on Monday signed six agreements for the promotion of bilateral cooperation under the witness of He and Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
“I have no doubt that we are entering into the second phase of CPEC. Today, we have signed some important documents which will enhance our economic cooperation, and we will undertake the second phase under a new mode,” Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif told the gathering on Monday, local media Pakistan Today reported.
A series of celebration events have been held in recent days to mark the 10th anniversary of the CPEC. The country’s landmark building – the Pakistan Monument – was decked on Saturday with the colors of the Chinese and Pakistan national flags to mark the anniversary.
From July 24 to 25, an international seminar on the CPEC and the BRI was held in Islamabad with senior officials, scholars and representatives from businesses and trade from Pakistan and China attending. Pang Chunxue, charge d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, also attended the celebration event, during which she said that under the guidance of the leaders of the two countries, the CPEC has achieved fruitful results and made great contributions to the economic and social development of Pakistan, according to a release from the website of the Chinese Embassy to Pakistan.
He’s visit to Pakistan showed that China has attached great importance to China-Pakistan relations and the CPEC. Moreover, He may also discuss with the Pakistan side about the development plan for the next decade, Zhu Yongbiao, executive director of the Research Center for the Belt and Road at Lanzhou University, told the Global Times.
As the CPEC and other BRI projects between China and Pakistan have focused on major infrastructure, more “small but beautiful” projects would be set to boost income fast and increase employment and benefit local people, said Zhu.
Analysts further noted that ensuring the safety of the CPEC and BRI projects are also a task for both China and Pakistan, given the threat of terrorism.
At least 44 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in a bomb blast that targeted a rally held on July 30 in Bajaur, a tribal district in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, media reported.
It is undeniable that the CPEC projects have brought concrete benefits to Pakistan, and both China and Pakistan will further improve the building of BRI projects despite external attempt to undermine it or some Western countries’ hyping of the “debt trap” rhetoric or security issues, analysts said.
Zhu said that financing problems, a thorny issue in Pakistan that the West has never been willing to help with, can be solved only by investment and development, which is what China and other countries are trying to do.
Some Western countries’ smearing of the CPEC and BRI projects is unfair and ill-intentioned. Zhu said that Pakistan has a clear understanding of this hype and also attaches importance to the development of the CPEC.