KARACHI-Chinese Consul General in Karachi Yang Yundong, on Wednesday, said that future of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is very promising and it will greatly contribute to peace and prosperity of both countries as well as the region.
The Chinese CG, while addressing a press conference along with Commercial Counselor Yang Guangyuan here, expressed the hope that CPEC will embrace a brighter and more splendid next decade propelling the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership of both countries to new heights.
Since launch of CPEC in 2013, China and Pakistan have been advancing the project under the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits, and have achieved several early harvests, he said and observed that it has added new impetus to the economic and social development of Pakistan and laid a good foundation for regional connectivity and integration.
Highlighting the major achievement of CPEC in ten years, he informed that 36 projects have been completed or are under construction, which has brought $ 25.4 billion of direct investment to Pakistan, achieving cumulative revenue of $17.55 billion, cumulative tax payments of $2.12 billion, creating 236,000 job opportunities. It helped add 8,000 megawatts of electricity, 510 kilometres of highways, and 886 km of national core transmission lines, he added.
Gawadar Port- the shining “pearl” of the CPEC- is accelerating its momentum towards becoming a strategic hub for logistics and industrial bases and significant progress has been achieved as 3 multi-purpose berths capable of handling 50,000-ton vessels were fully operational and projects like the East Bay Expressway, vocational and technical training institutions were already in operation, he noted adding that Gawadar New International Airport, the desalination plant and China-Pakistan Friendship Hospital were scheduled for completion.
Yang Yundong said that the first phase of the Gawadar Free Zone has been completed, and several livelihood and agriculture technology companies have started operations.
He said that energy was one of the most heavily invested and productive cooperation areas under the framework of CPEC and various energy projects along the CPEC has illuminated millions of Pakistani households and provided reliable power support for Pakistan’s economic development. He said that 14 energy projects have already started commercial operation with the total installed capacity accounting for one-fifth of Pakistan’s total capacity and Sahiwal, Port Qasim, and Hub coal-fired power plants were swiftly built and put into commercial operation at “China’s speed”.
The Chinese CG commented that various clean energy projects, such as Karot Hydropower Project, Dawood Wind Power Project, Sachal Wind Farm, the Quaid-e-Azam Solar PV Power Plant, and K2 and K3 nuclear power units have enriched Pakistan’s energy structure while the Thar Block I and Block II coal-fired power integration project has contributed to Pakistan’s energy self-sufficiency.
The Matiari to Lahore HVDC transmission line is the first high voltage direct current transmission project in Pakistan, which transmits over 30 billion KWhour of power every year with little power loss.
Talking about infrastructure development he highlighted the projects like 392 KM long Sukkur-Multan motorway, Lahore Orange Line Metro and The Karakorum Highway Phase II and observed that the infrastructure construction along the CPEC has unlocked the potential of the regions, paving the way for development and prosperity. The Chinese envoy said that industrial cooperation under CPEC has encouraged an increasing number of Chinese enterprises to come to Pakistan and engage in multi-field industrial cooperation, including agriculture, manufacturing, and textiles.
In the agriculture sector, Chinese hybrid rice has become a popular planting variety, significantly increasing rice yield while at the same time, cooperation in chili and canola planting was progressing steadily.
He anticipated that with development of special economic zones, including Rashakai Phase I and Dhabeji, bilateral industrial cooperation is expected to grow even closer, laying a solid foundation for Pakistan’s industrialisation process. He stated that CPEC has also helped to promote investment and trade between the two countries and China continues to be the largest source of Foreign Direct Investment in Pakistan as Pakistan received $ 432.7 million of FDI from China in FY2023 accounting for 30% of the total FDI coming to Pakistan.
For the first time, Pakistan’s seafood was transported by land along the CPEC from Karachi to Kashgar, Xinjiang while Pakistan’s exports of sugars and sugar confectionery and Himalayan Pink Salt increased significantly, he informed adding that his country wanted to boost Pakistani exports to China. Terming job creation as another big accomplishment of CPEC, he said that the projects attracted numerous local people to participate in the construction and with internship, training, and exchange programs CPEC has become the cradle of talent in Pakistan, he noted.
CPEC has deepened friendly exchanges between the people of the two countries and as the CPEC construction continues to deepen, the “ironclad” friendship between China and Pakistan will undoubtedly take a deeper root in the hearts of both peoples, he maintained. Paying homage to all of those who have made contributions and sacrifices to the construction of CPEC he mentioned that Chinese engineers and workers bear difficulties and harsh weather during construction of Sachal Wind Farm and Sukkur-Multan motorway while 9 Chinese engineers and 3 Pakistani citizens were killed and 27 Chinese engineers were severely injured in a terrorists attack at Dasu in July 2021.
Referring to a message of Chinese President Xi Jinping, the CG said that his country was willing to work with Pakistan to adhere to high standards, sustainability, and benefiting the people, continually perfect the layout, and expand and deepen cooperation, making the CPEC an exemplary project for high-quality BRI cooperation. The Chinese CG, at the occasion also felicitated Pakistani nation on Independence Day saying “In a few days, it will be Pakistan Independence Day, hereby I wish all friends Happy Independence Day in advance.”
Yang Yundong while responding to a query said that the technical committee on ML-1 project had a meeting in Beijing while another meeting was scheduled this month in Islamabad.
On another query, he said that his government was encouraging Chinese companies to come to Karachi and have joint ventures with Pakistani counterparts to start operations at SEZs for manufacturing of vehicles, solar panels and other commodities.
On another question, he said that CPEC is an open and inclusive project and some Middle Eastern countries including UAE had already expressed intent to participate in the project which would attract more investment in CPEC.