Pakistan's debt problem was not caused by cooperation projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and the construction of the CPEC is in line with the long-term development of the country, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at a press briefing in Beijing on Tuesday.
The comment comes after Pakistan's Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid said in September that it will cut the $8.2 billion Karachi-Peshawar railway project, or one of the biggest projects under the CPEC, by about $2 billion, citing concerns on the "huge burdens of loans," the Economic Times reported.
Rashid's comment triggered speculation that Pakistan's new government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan may re-evaluate the CPEC projects.
In response, Lu said at the press briefing that the new Pakistan government has made it clear that they will support the CPEC and thought the project is in line with the country's long-term investment.
"The IMF also made it clear that CPEC does not cause debt burdens to Pakistan and will be conducive for Pakistan's long-term development," Lu said, noting that the advance of CPEC enhances regional connectivity and prosperity, which also meets Pakistan's interest.
As an important project under the Belt and Road Initiative, the CPEC, from the start, was built based on the principle of joint consultation and sharing between China and Pakistan, Lu added. "All the project and financial arrangements were decided between the two countries during equal negotiations."
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