China-Pakistan Relations: Beijing To Pump $1 Billion In Pak Development Projects
China will invest $1 billion in different development projects in Pakistan in a fresh sign that bilateral ties between the two nations are stronger than ever.
The investment was announced by Yao Jing who is China's Ambassador to Pakistan. The announcement was made at the Women's Chamber of Commerce and Industry which was held in Islamabad.
Yao also assured that developments under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC remained satisfactory for both countries. All eyes are on CPEC since it has been the flagship project under the Belt and Road Initiative pushed largely by Chinese President XI Jinping.
China's Ambassador to Pakistan added that the second phase of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement will be sealed in October. Once finalized, Pakistan can export agricultural products and seafood without tariffs. This will increase Pakistan's exports by $500 million, closing the gap in bilateral trade between the two countries.
Yao's visit to Pakistan was part of a four-day trip to Pakistan and Nepal by high-profile delegations led by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Wang joined a trilateral meeting attended by his counterparts in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Political observers expect that China could mediate in the border dispute between India and Pakistan. Resolving the border issue between China's two important neighbors has long been in Beijing's priority list, this was according to Wang Dehua, head of the Institue for South and Central Asia Studies at the Shanghai Center for International Studies.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi for his part thanked the Chinese delegation for their unwavering support of Pakistan after India's controversial move in Kashmir in August.
Officials from both countries assured international observers that the Sino-Pak relation continues to be robust if not much stronger.
China has been pumping millions in Pakistan's economy for the last ten years.
Beijing's commitment to Pakistan has been particularly pronounced beginning 2011-2012. Around that period, China's investment and assistance to Pakistan had eclipsed that of the United States by 20 times more.
Beijing has become Pakistan's largest debtor and investor, salvaging Islamabad from its economic deficit multiple times within the last decade. China makes up as much as 60% of Pakistan's Foreign Direct Investments.
As for loans, China has committed more than $21 billion for Pakistan. Of that, more than $9 billion was disbursed between 2013-2014. Further, a number of commercial banks in China issued loans of about $4.5 billion for balance pf payments to support Pakistan in the last few years. On the other hand, the United States had stopped issuing loans to Pakistan since 2002.