ISLAMABAD - Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan Sun Weidong yesterday said his country was satisfied with the smooth implementation of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Speaking to journalists here, Weidong rejected the rumours of discontent over the multi-billion dollar project.

The envoy said: “CPEC is under smooth implementation, and will deliver mutual benefits to both countries and peoples of the whole region. China is satisfied with the pace of implementation.” The statement came after claims that the CPEC had been put on the backburner by the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)-led government after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif fell ill and his family was accused of corruption in the Panama Papers.

Also yesterday, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Ahsan Iqbal said cooperation between Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan and Xingiang province of China can add a new chapter in CPEC because of their geographic proximity.

The minister proposed a five-year plan for promoting cooperation and partnership between Xingiang and Gilgit Baltistan in various fields.

He said the success of CPEC depended on business to business and people to people contacts of both the countries.

The CPEC is a collection of projects currently under construction at a cost of $ 46 billion which is intended to rapidly expand and upgrade Pakistani infrastructure, as well as deepen and broaden economic links between Pakistan and China.

Pakistani officials predict the project will result in the creation of upwards of 700,000 direct jobs between 2015–2030, and add 2 to 2.5 percentage points to the country's annual economic growth.

Should all the planned projects be implemented, the value of those projects would be equal to all foreign direct investment in Pakistan since 1970, and would be equivalent to 17 per cent of Pakistan’s 2015 gross domestic product.