Pakistan and China are iron brothers, says Pak PM Abbasi

Beijing—Pakistan and China are “iron brothers” and their friendship is the bedrock of strategic stability in “our region”, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said on Tuesday.

Addressing the BOAO Forum for Asia being held in the southern Chinese city of Boao, he praised the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which he said is fast reaching fruition.

“It is an excellent example of an open, coordinated, and inclusive development paradigm that benefits all stakeholders,” Abbasi said on the CPEC, a project opposed by India as it traverses through Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK).

The BRI is a prestigious initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping aimed at building rail, maritime and road links from Asia to Europe and Africa in a revival of ancient Silk Road trading routes.

The CPEC is a network of infrastructure projects that are currently under construction throughout Pakistan that will connect China’s Xinjiang province with Gwadar port in Pakistan’s Balochistan province.

“In the annals of history, Sino Pakistan relations find no parallel. In every sense, we are iron brothers. In our region, our friendship is the bedrock of strategic stability,” Abbasi said at the annual forum, where President Xi gave the keynote speech.

It is natural for Pakistan to take the lead in partnering with China to usher in a new era of peace and prosperity through enhanced connectivity, he said.

He said the development of the deep seaport of Gwadar is proceeding at a fast track.

On completion, it will not only serve as a transit and transshipment hub, but become an economic nucleus. Besides Pakistan, it will afford shortest maritime and overland access to Western China, Central and South Asia and the Middle East, he said.

“We have already begun reaping dividends of CPEC rail, road and infrastructure projects. CPEC investment and its spin off effects have generated thousands of jobs. 10,000 MW have been added to our national grid, ameliorating our chronic energy shortages,” he said.

Abbasi also praised Xi on his recent re-election as the President with an indefinite term.

President Xi’s historic Belt and Road Initiative has become a global public good, beneficial to all and bringing equality to an unequal world, he said.

“This visionary and futuristic initiative is a win-win proposition aimed at bringing shared prosperity for all. Pakistan sees it as an initiative of generational impact which will shape the course of the 21st century,” he said.

Supplemented by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund, the BRI has spawned innovative mechanisms for development funding, which are bridging the resource gap between the needs of the developing countries and capabilities of existing international financial institutions, he said.

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