BEIJING - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that his government together with China looked forward to making Pakistan a major contributor to “building a community of shared future for mankind through China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).”

“Together with China, we look forward to making Pakistan a major contributor to ‘building a community of shared future for mankind’ through CPEC,” he said in an interview with the Chinese newspaper “People’s Daily”, published on Sunday.

The newspapers interviewed the prime minister at his office in Islamabad on Tuesday.

The prime minister spoke highly of the Belt and Road initiative (BRI) as well as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), calling it “a transformative project representing economic cooperation between Pakistan and China.”

He said the BRI is “a truly global public good” as it is designed to impact positively a vast number of people living in geographically distinct areas but bound together by the dream of improved lives, and better access to roads, infrastructure, sustainable energy and better resources.

As the flagship project of the BRI, CPEC epitomises the vision of the two countries for comprehensive and broad-based economic cooperation, said Abbasi. “The energy projects conceived under CPEC have alleviated the energy crisis in Pakistan and we have been successful in adding thousands of megawatts of electricity to the national grid,” he said.

CPEC energy projects have diversified Pakistan’s energy mix with investments in the country’s hydro, wind, solar and hydrocarbon energy sectors, which is also “a matter of satisfaction” for the prime minister.

The initial phase of the CPEC has done extremely well. A network of roads is under construction, and Gwadar port infrastructure is being developed, he noted. “It has indeed been a game changer,” he said.

Abbasi said that Pakistan is now looking forward to the next stage of CPEC development — setting up Special Economic Zones, which he believes will not only strengthen the economic and industrial base of the country but also generate thousands of jobs.

Early completion of the road and rail network and modernisation and development of Gwadar Port are also expected to “transform Pakistan from an agrarian economy to a logistics’ hub transporting goods from China to the region and the world.”

CPEC will enhance Pakistan’s connectivity, not only with China but with Central and South Asia and beyond, said Abbasi, noting that it will expand bilateral and regional trade, promote economic integration, and foster economic development.

The prime minister also said that President Xi’s concept of “Building a Community of Shared Future for Mankind” is “not only revolutionary but also ties in beautifully with CPEC.”

“Together with China, we look forward to making Pakistan a major contributor to ‘building a community of shared future for mankind’ through CPEC,” he said. 

The prime minister stressed the urgent need for global openness as he expressed solidarity with China’s vision of “building a community of shared future for mankind.”

“Everybody is looking eagerly forward to President Xi’s articulation of his vision that he will provide on the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) and also the future role China will play in the world trade and the world economy,” Abbasi added.

The prime minister said that he will lead a delegation comprising cabinet ministers and senior level officials, which underscores the importance Pakistan attaches to the forum.

The forum, scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Boao, a town in the southern island province of Hainan, will have the theme "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity,” which Abbasi praised as “not only pertinent but also timely.”

With Asia becoming more integrated and countries in the region forging partnerships in diverse fields including economy, trade, technology, energy, ecology and social sectors, “Openness and inclusivity are indeed the need of the hour,” he stressed.

Abbasi expected the forum to be successful in “generating informed and candid discussion on a wide range of issues towards forging a common vision for the Asian century.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sunday arrived in Beijing to attend the Boao Forum Asia Annual Conference.

Member of the Standing Committee CPPCC of Sanya Yan Zhaojun received the prime minister, who was accompanied by Minister for Foreign Affairs Khawaja Muhammad Asif, said a PM Office press release.

The prime minister will be one of the keynote speakers in the opening session along with President Xi Jinping, and other leaders attending the annual forum. He will also hold bilateral meetings with the Chinese and other world leaders.