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January 24, 2020

China asks Pakistan to convene 10th JCC meeting

Top Story

January 24, 2020

ISLAMABAD: China has asked Pakistan to convene the 10th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting under the CPEC framework ahead of its schedule in order to finalise different mega projects, including railways Mainline (ML-1) of $9.2 billion before the arrival of President Xi Jinping to Islamabad.

China’s National Development Reform Commission (NDRC) has sent out official communication for asking the Pakistani side to convene the 10th JCC meeting in April 2020, instead of its scheduled time to be held in June/July in the wake of upcoming visit of President Xi Jinping. The president of China is scheduled to visit Pakistan soon after upcoming Ramadan and Eidul Fitr.

Now the PTI-led government has notified the ministerial committee under chairmanship of Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar for making arrangements for the upcoming scheduled visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Islamabad in end May or early June 2020.

The 9th JCC meeting held in November 2019 in Islamabad and it was expected that the next 10th JCC will be held in China probably in coming June/July this year. It was unexpected for Pakistani side when they received official communication from Chinese side about holding of proposed JCC ahead of its scheduled timeframe. Now the government will kick-start preparation for finalising feasibilities and reports of different projects for inclusion in second phase of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

When sent out questions to Minister for Planning Asad Umar, he replied back and told this scribe that the next JCC would be held earlier in April 2020 so that both sides could finalise second phase projects of CPEC ahead of scheduled visit of Chinese president.

He said that the modernisation of rail line from Peshawar to Karachi with approximate cost of $9.2 billion would be among other projects that would be executed under the second phase of CPEC. He said that the government would convene meeting next week to firm up list of projects that would be executed through CPEC.

Pakistan and China so far executed $29 billion projects under CPEC for energy and infrastructure projects and most of the projects were either completed or nearing completion.

Meanwhile, responding to the statement of US Acting Assistant Secretary of State, Ms Alice Wells on CPEC, spokesperson for Ministry of Planning, Development and special Initiatives said that CPEC projects under the overarching umbrella of BRI is a well-thought-out initiative involving mega development projects for the economic and social development of Pakistan.

The projects completed so far in Phase-1 have already brought relief and started yielding dividends and tangible socio-economic benefits. CPEC projects will accelerate the pace of development in the country boosting economic growth and ensuring ultimate prosperity for the people of Pakistan.

Pakistan being a sovereign state exercises the right to choose economic partners from around the globe on mutually beneficial basis. All related projects are being pursued as per laws and regulations of Pakistan and through an institutional mechanism wherein transparency is a priority consideration. Necessary due diligence with all financial implications is being undertaken before finalisation of any projects. Pakistan’s debt sustainability strategy has an endorsement of international financial institutions, it concluded.