Pakistani PM Visits China as Fiscal Crisis Looms

Andrew Cummings
November 3, 2018

India Wednesday said it has lodged strong protests with China and Pakistan over the proposed bus service between the two countries through Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK) under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

The loan and the investments were reportedly part of the Dollars 6 billion package.

While neither of the leaders made any specific references to economic aid during their talks, Khan is keen to negotiate a bailout from Beijing to tackle Pakistan's fiscal crisis. They have their high points, they have their low points.

During the meeting, PM Imran and AIIB president agreed to ensure transparency in the projects by accountability.

China's expected assistance is the second Dollars 6 billion package which Khan has managed to obtain in the last few weeks as Pakistan reeled under severe financial crisis. He secured $3 billion funding from his recent visit to Saudi Arabia besides differed payment for oil imports worth about $3 billion for a year.

It would be Pakistan's 13th rescue package from the multilateral lender since the late 1980s.

"China has always supported Pakistan's safeguarding of national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the new Pakistani government's smooth running of the government and advancement of national construction", he said.

In the meeting, the two sides discussed strengthening of bilateral relations and matters of mutual regional and global interests, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

"Khan has posited that Chinese and Saudi financial assistance will reduce the amount Pakistan needs to borrow from the International Monetary Fund, mitigating Pakistan's susceptibility to the U.S. demands that its CPEC debt be transparent". He said that we are neither surprised nor did we expect anything substantial to be delivered there, because of the mindset India prefers to be in denial mode since the tragedy of Kashmir was born in 1947. Khan will meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Saturday and will attend a massive import expo hosted by Xi in Shanghai next week.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who is accompanying the PM, met his counterpart, Wang Yi and discussed measures to further bolster bilateral relations in diverse fields, Radio Pakistan reported.

"China-Pakistan cooperation not only benefits both peoples but also contributes to regional and world peace, stability and development", Xi said.

They also reiterated their steadfast commitment to strategic partnership and underscored taking it to new heights.

"China wants to avoid such transparency because exposing the terms of the CPEC project agreements could validate the United States criticism of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a debt trap for emerging economies", the Post report said. If more projects are canceled that would feed into broader concerns about China's belt and road and debt diplomacy, something Beijing does not want.

Finance Minister Umar said this week that his government was seeking funds from various countries and institutions to avoid becoming dependent on a single source.

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