China-Pakistan Corridor Not Tied to India-Pakistan Territorial Dispute - Beijing


China and Pakistan reaffirmed their "all-weather" relations in Beijing on Friday, as visiting Prime Minister Imran Khan sought fresh financial support from his giant neighbour in the face of a troubled economy back home.

He said: "My party has only been in power for two months".

Pakistan is expected to receive $6 billion economic package from China during the visit, Geo TV quoted sources as saying.

Neither side mentioned economic aid in their comments in front of the press, Reuters reported.

China's expected assistance is the second $6 billion package which Khan has managed to obtain in the last few weeks as Pakistan reeled under severe financial crisis.

During his visit to Saudi Arabia last month, Riyadh committed United States dollars 6 billion funding which included USD 3 billion deferred payment for oil imports.

Pakistan is now hoping to secure help from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to avert the crisis in what would be the nation's 13th rescue package from the lender in 30 years.

India has also been protesting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project - a key project under Chinese President Xi Jinping's pet Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) - as it runs through the PoK.

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He said with Pakistan having oldest relationship with China, it was the only friendly country in the world on whom people in Pakistan felt they could always depend in the hour of need.

"We have lodged strong protests with China and Pakistan on the proposed bus service that will operate through areas of Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir State under the so-called "China-Pakistan Economic Corridor", the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) told reporters.

In a meeting with Chinese IDCPC Minister Song Tao in Beijing, he said such exchanges would ensure that the exceptional friendship between Pakistan and China endured from generation to generation.

The premier is accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Minister for Planning Makhdoom Khusro Bukhtiar, Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce, Industry and Investment Abdul Razzak Dawood and Chief Minister of Balochistan Jam Kamal. Khan had initially vowed to curb borrowing, but has proceeded with projects such as one to build 5 million public housing units and has predicted that Pakistan would soon overcome its economic woes.

An IMF delegation is due to visit China next week and the Khan government wants to minimise the bailout package it seeks from the global lender.

"Basically, aside from the contracts that have been agreed and the projects that are moving ahead on the ground, which is the $19 billion worth, everything else is up for grabs as far as they (China) are concerned", Small said.

From Beijing's point of view, Pakistan's criticism of the project was a shocker, especially after China's takeover of Sri Lanka's Hambantota port on a 99-year lease as a debt swap.

President Xi Jinping, while welcoming the prime minister, said that Pak-China relations have already been strengthening, and have now gained momentum.