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Thursday June 13, 2024

Pakistan’s ties with China not at expense of friendship with US: envoy

Two countries realised that the mega project should also have an organic persona; says Masood

By News Desk
May 24, 2024
Pakistans Ambassador to the United States Masood Khan speaks during an interview with CGTN-America on May 22, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — X/@PakinUSA
Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States Masood Khan speaks during an interview with CGTN-America on May 22, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — X/@PakinUSA

ISLAMABAD: Masood Khan, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, emphasised that Pakistan’s relationship with China is not at the expense of its friendship with the US, terming the ties with Beijing “productive”.

The ambassador’s statement came during an interview with China Global Television Network-America programme ‘The Heat’ during which he spoke at length about Islamabad’s existing ties with Beijing and Washington.

Commenting on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, the Pakistani envoy termed it “very significant”.

After completing early harvest projects under CPEC, Khan said, the two countries realised that the mega project should also have an organic persona. He added that the holistic programme now included investments in tourism, technology, vocational training, agriculture and people to people exchange.

“Up to now we’ve already disbursed about $25 billion and by 2030, we would be able to complete the remaining projects,” said Ambassador Khan.

“Since it is the flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative, so we have reputational commitment to this project so that it succeeds under all circumstances,” he continued.

Discussing China’s broader role and multilateralism, the envoy underscored the need for a level playing field for all the countries so that they can grow together. “They can avert wars and confrontation and opt for peace through dialogue and diplomacy,” he said.

He was optimistic that the complementarities between the Western bloc and China would strengthen in the times to come which would benefit the developing world including Pakistan.

Speaking about Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s forthcoming visit to China, the ambassador said that its agenda would include strengthening defense ties, deepening economic cooperation and investing in cultural exchanges.

On Pakistan’s ties with US, Khan said: “Pakistan and United States have held many dialogue processes to promote shared objectives and we continue to work on an agenda that is mutually beneficial for the two countries.”

“We are looking towards the future, into the future with confidence,” he continued.

The ambassador outlined the contours of the Pak-US relations post the withdrawal period from Afghanistan, stating that the two countries have worked on perception management which was critical after the ‘messy’ war on terror.

He said that the two countries had decided to use the space available given the geostrategic complexities of the region for building a stand-alone relationship.

“I think we have succeeded to a great extent. We will enhance this space,” observed the Ambassador.