ISLAMABAD: A top Chinese diplomat has angrily spurned US criticism of his country’s multibillion-dollar infrastructure push in Pakistan as he publicly gave point-by-point reply to the objections raised by the acting US assistant secretary of state on Friday.
Alice Wells, President Trump’s aide on South Asia, warned Islamabad that it faced long-term economic damage with little return if Beijing keeps pursuing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which, according to her, would profit only China.
CPEC, heralded as a game-changer by both Pakistan and China, “is going to take a growing toll on the Pakistan economy, especially when the bulk of payments start to come due in the next four to six years,” Wells said at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
“Even if loan payments are deferred, they are going to continue to hang over Pakistan’s economic development potential, hamstringing Prime Minister (Imran) Khan’s reform agenda,” she added.
However, China’s Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing rebuffed the allegations, saying that Sino-Pak relationship was mutually beneficial and based on “win-win cooperation” for both sides. While speaking at the 5th CPEC Media Forum in Islamabad later in the day, Yao said China has always come forward to assist Pakistan in need without any political or government differences.
“If Pakistan is in need, China would never ask Pakistan to repay its loans in time,” he said while pointing out that the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is mainly governed by the West, was strict in its repayment system. The global lending agency approved a $6 billion loan in July to help resuscitate Pakistan’s ailing economy.