HAINAN - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi yesterday lauded the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) citing all the benefits it gives to both countries.

He made the remarks in Hainan, south China, during the ongoing Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference.

PM Abbasi, who will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the BFA, said he believes in the vision of China, not just for the region but the world.

He said the CPEC is going well and that it continues to be a good initiative in the region and part of connectivity in Asia. Pakistan has seen growth in the region and is very optimistic about Belt and Road Initiative and is sure that it will benefit the region and the world.

As for debt paying ability, he said numbers speak for themselves. With five percent of economic growth, all are positive signs.

The corridor has already helped Pakistan grow and overcome its financial deficit. Pakistan has seen 1,700 miles of multi-lane motor ways built and special economic zones set up.

Infrastructure in the south Asian country is also improving. The Gwadar port is operational, providing the whole Central Asia access to the sea.

The prime minister said China is champion of economic liberalization while the US is talking about protectionism. Pakistan does not believe in protectionism. Opening and liberalization is the way forward.

Abbasi said Pakistan adopted yuan as reserve currency as a management strategy of its finance. It will also benefit bilateral trade which is improving. On the other hand, it will help yuan become an international currency.

He said Pakistan will join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in June in Qingdao. He added that SCO is a regional multilateral cooperation mechanism. The inclusion of Pakistan will also benefit other parties. He said both India and Pakistan are joining and Pakistan views the move to improving bilateral relations.

Gas pipeline

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Power China Limited Vice President Li Yanming witnessed signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Inter-State Gas Systems of Pakistan and Power China for laying of North-South Gas Pipeline at Sanya (China) on Monday.

“The pipeline would serve as a secure and continuous supply of affordable gas in areas currently showing increased demand for power generation and industrial use,” a press release issued from the PM Office said.

The prime minister also witnessed signing of another MoU between Pakistan State Oil and Power China for construction of up-country deep conversion oil refinery and laying of crude oil pipeline.

This project will help in reducing costs of petroleum products currently being transported via road from refineries in southern parts and also ensure uninterrupted supply.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Masood Khalid, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing and senior officials were present on the occasion.