Thursday April 18, 2024

Ready to change CPEC name, says Chinese envoy to India

By Muhammad Saleh Zaafir
May 09, 2017

Pak diplomatic sources say ambassador’s remarks sarcastic in manner as China has no plans to change CPEC nomenclature

ISLAMABAD: Chinese Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui on Monday said his country was ready to change the name of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Addressing a session at the United Service Institution of India in New Delhi Luo, while denying China's involvement in the sovereignty and territorial disputes between India and Pakistan, said the CPEC was for promoting economic cooperation and connectivity.  "It (CPEC) has no connections to or impact on sovereignty issues. Even we can think about renaming the CPEC.

“China and India have had successful experience of delinking sovereignty disputes with bilateral relations before. China is sincere in its intention to cooperate with India on the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, as it is good for both of us," he said. 

Citing China's earlier measures to help tackle issues related to Kashmir, Luo said contrary to media reports of aiding Pakistan, China's initiatives focus more on reaping its own benefits rather than supporting the stance of any other nation. 

"We always put China first and we deal with problems based on their own merits," he said.  Emphasizing the importance of mediation between Pakistan, China and India, Luo said it was essential for collective development and stability of the entire region. 

Meanwhile, highly-placed diplomatic sources told The News on Monday that Luo Zhaohui’s comments in New Delhi on Monday were sarcastic in a manner. They said China had no plans to change the nomenclature of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) since it was strictly in accordance with the ground realities.

Pakistan and China have named the project after thorough discussion and China wouldn’t budge to the Indian moves against its mega projects, especially the CPEC and ‘One Belt One Road)’ (OBOR) initiative.  Interestingly, India has also criticized the OBOR last week while Pakistan has been supporting the concept over-whelmingly.

The Chinese ambassador in India is a seasoned diplomat who earlier had served in Pakistan as China’s ambassador before moving to Washington and he also served as Director General for South Asia in the Chinese Foreign Office.

On Sunday, Pakistan and China agreed to jointly oversee the CPEC and ensure transparency in the project as an agreement in this regard was signed between the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Beijing. 

A combined initiative focusing on enhancing economic cooperation between China and Pakistan, the CPEC is being hailed to create 85,000 jobs for Pakistani youth.  It is being facilitated to modernize infrastructure and transport networks in Pakistan through the creation of special economic zones and energy projects. 

The initial proposal was made in April 2015 during Chinese President Xi Jinping's official state visit to Pakistan. On April 20, 2015, Pakistan and China signed an agreement to commence work on the USD 46 billion agreement, with approximately $28 billion worth of fast-tracked
projects to be developed by the end of 2018.