Islamabad: China’s Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong has said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was an important pilot project of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Speaking at an Award Ceremony for outstanding Pakistani staff of CPEC projects this week, he said CPEC was a demonstration project of China-Pakistan cooperation.
“It is significant to deepen China- Pakistan all-weather strategic cooperative partnership for the building a closer community of shared future, and the realization of high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative,” he said.
He added: “It is my pleasure to attend the Awarding Ceremony for Outstanding Pakistani Staff of CPEC projects. Due to COVID-19, we have to hold an on-line ceremony this year. Thank you Asim Bajwa, Chairman CPEC Authority for attending today’s ceremony and gave warm remarks.”
He said the 18 outstanding Pakistani staff attending today’s ceremony are from Gwadar Port, energy, infrastructure and other fields of the CPEC construction. They are outstanding representatives of Pakistani staff in all fields of CPEC cooperation and demonstrate the diversification of China-Pakistan cooperation in the new era.
“On behalf of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Pakistan, I would like to extend my warm congratulations and heartfelt gratitude to all those who have won the award for your excellent service. At the same time, I would also like to express my gratitude to all the companies and their staff working on the CPEC projects for their continuous contribution in advancing CPEC cooperation,” he said.
The ambassador said during the past 5 years since President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan, the CPEC has achieved great success and made tremendous contributions to the development of Pakistan and regional connectivity under the joint efforts of the governments, enterprises, and all walks of life from both countries. Based on consensus of both governments, we further expand the CEPC cooperation from Gwadar Port, energy, infrastructure development and industrial cooperation to new areas of agriculture, science and technology, social economy and international cooperation.
“In this year, the CPEC projects have achieved major progress despite the adversity challenge brought by COVID-19 pandemic. It hassupported Pakistan’s drive in the fighting against COVID-19, ensuring economic stability, and well-being of the people. It has also continued to train high-quality talents for the country. We are pleased to see that during the Covid-19, CEPC energy projects have provided one third of power supply across Pakistan. The focus for energy cooperation has been shifted from addressing power shortage to its structural adjustments. The Mertiari to Lahore HVDC Transmission Line Project has been completed,” he said.
The ambassador sai the Power Purchase Agreements of green and clean energy projects such as Kohala Hydropower and Patan Hydropower have been signed. With the completion of upgrade of KKH Phase-II, the China-Pakistan friendship highway, the transportation network for north-western Pakistan has been improved. In Lahore, the operation of the Orange Line project has brought Pakistan into a metro era.
There has been increase of port handling capacity in Gwadar Port. The transit trade for Afghan goods through Gwadar Port has been officially launched, helped the sustainable supply of daily necessities for people of Pakistan and Afghanistan during COVID-19 period, he added.
The envoy China and Pakistan further promoted industrial cooperation with the signing of the Development Agreement of Rashakai Economic Zone. “We have also completed a number of environment-friendly social economic projects such as the expansion work of Faqur School in Gwadar, China-Pakistan Friendship Forest, aid of disaster relief facilities, donation of cold-chain vaccine storage and transportation equipment in a timely manner,” he said.
Ambassador Rong said it was fair to say that both sides have overcome the difficulties of the COVID-19 and made new head ways of cooperation in a coordinated way.
“In this year, there is no stop of the construction, no job cut, no withdrawal of workforce of the CPEC projects. Many Chinese workers have overcome difficulties and stayed in their posts in Pakistan. Each of the hard earned achievements are the results of the sweat and joint efforts of both sides. We have written a new and touching chapter of China-Pakistan friendship through our cooperation,” he said.
As President Xi Jinping said, he added, China will work with its partners to develop the Belt and Road into a model of cooperation for meeting challenges through unity, a model of health for protecting people’s safety and well-being, a model of recovery for restoring economic and social activity, and a model of growth for unlocking development potential. “After overcome the challenge of COVID-19 pandemic, China and Pakistan can find more solid ground on Belt and Road cooperation. We are more motivated in furthering the CPEC, and the prospects of our all-around cooperation have been further widened,” the envoy said.
In the documentary made by Pakistan China Institute, he reminded, Prime Minister Imran Khan said during the interview that Pakistan’s future is linked to China, and the CPEC is a great opportunity to Pakistan.
“In the next stage, we will work with Pakistan to further implement the consensus reached by leaders of our two countries, making more coordination of CPEC cooperation with “Naya Pakistan” Initiative. On the basis of ensuring smooth construction and operation of the on-going projects, we will focus more on areas of industrial cooperation, agriculture and social economy, and promote CPEC into a demonstration project for high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative,” he said.
Finally, he said, “I would like to again extend my congratulations to all Pakistani staff who won the award today. Chin-Pak Dosti Zindabad (long live China-Pakistan friendship)!
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman CPEC Authority Asim Saleem Bajwa said that in face of the novel coronavirus, all CPEC projects have been moving forward, bringing hope for a future of peace and economic growth.
Over the past five years, he said there were 22 construction projects under the framework of CPEC, covering roads, railways, airports, thermal power, hydropower, renewable energy, Gwadar Port, special economic zones and other areas.
He said that infrastructure investment and construction would be a key to reviving the jobs market and national economies.
“Under CPEC, no project has been suspended for construction, and no worker has been laid off,” he said.