ISLAMABAD – The report from the Wall Street Journal severely deviates from the facts. As a major pilot project of Belt and Road Initiative, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has achieved great progress in the last 5 years, the Chinese embassy in Pakistan said in a statement on Monday.
CPEC has effectively alleviated energy crisis and infrastructure shortage which are considered as two bottlenecks in Pakistan’s development and played a positive role in maintaining the relatively high economic growth in Pakistan. As an early harvest project in CPEC, the Lahore Orange Line project has been widely welcomed by the Pakistani government and people, creating a large number of job opportunities. After the completion, it will greatly ease the traffic congestion in Lahore and provide people with affordable energy-saving transportation, the statement said.
The report stated that CPEC led to the debt crisis of Pakistan. This is a highly irresponsible statement that fails to reflect the reality. According to data released by the Pakistani government, 42% of the foreign debt of Pakistan is from multilateral financial institutions, 18% of the debt is from the Paris Club. Chinese preferential loans only account for only 10% of the whole foreign debt and offer a much lower rate than commercial bank loans. From this perspective, even if there is a so-called “debt trap”, the initiator is not China. As to the people who fabricated the lie that the so-called “debt trap” in Pakistan is caused by CPEC, if they are unable to offer tangible assistance to Pakistan, they can at least try to put the sincere cooperation between other countries in perspective, the statement added.
The cooperation under CPEC has always adhered to the principles of mutual benefit, equality and reciprocity, follows the golden rules of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. The planning and implementation of the CPEC has been discussed by both sides in the open. No country is dominating the process. Both sides have an equal say. Firmly promoting CPEC is an across-party national consensus in Pakistan and received the wholehearted support from the Pakistani people. We believe that the CPEC will be advanced in a steady manner in accordance with the consensus reached by China and Pakistan without being disturbed by other factors. We hope that relevant media reports could respect the truth, take off their tinted glasses, and make more objective, unbiased and all-sided reports. Their readers deserve the true story, the statement concluded.