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Remarks at the Pakistan Council on China's Forum on China Pakistan Economic Corridor

(19 July 2017, Islamabad)

H.E. Tehmina Janjua, Foreign Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

H.E. Ambassador Inam ul Haque,

Dr. Fazal ur Rahman, Executive Director, Pakistan Council on China,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

Aslam Alegum and good morning to you all.

It is my pleasure to attend the Pakistan Council on China’s Forum on China Pakistan Economic Corridor. I am very much encouraged by the warm remarks of Her Excellency Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and His Excellency Ambassador Haque on China Pakistan relations. On behalf of Chinese Embassy, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere appreciation to you and to Pakistan Council on China for your sustained commitment to promote China Pakistan long standing friendship and all-weathered cooperation.

Dear friends,

To better promote China Pakistan cooperation and the CPEC in particular, I think it is imperative that we should keep in mind a broader picture of China’s development.

The Chinese economy has maintained a momentum of steady and sound growth in recent years. The first half of 2017 saw 6.9% growth with marked improvement in economic performance, and major economic indicators have continued to move in a positive direction. One of the key of our recent success lies in inclusive growth. In keeping with the principles of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development and the trend of economic globalization and the new industrial revolution, we have highlighted inclusiveness in our development strategies, and worked to promote inclusive growth through providing institutional guarantee and policy support.

China has earnestly implemented the strategy of innovation-driven development, and promoted mass entrepreneurship and innovation by fostering enabling conditions. China has over 900 million mobile broadband users and over 730 million Internet users. The introduction of the Internet has given rise to a mushrooming of new forms of business. Last year, the market value of China's sharing economy reached 3.5 trillion yuan, growing by more than 100% year-on-year, and 600 million people got involved in sharing. For example, when you are in Beijing, you don’t need to carry your wallet everywhere. You can rent bikes anywhere through mobile APP and pay it through your mobilephone. Thanks to the large population involved, China's entrepreneurship and innovation have gained a fast and strong momentum and provided an effective means to achieve inclusive growth. Common people are enjoying the benefits from e-commerce and more business opportunities are created for businessman across the world.

By readjusting our economic structure through reform and innovation, we have secured a major shift from too much reliance on export and investment to generating growth through consumption, the service sector and domestic demand. Last year, consumption became a primary growth driver, contributing 64.6% to economic growth. These major changes point to the qualitative improvement in the Chinese economy and have made our growth more stable and sustainable. And of course, China’s development will remain open to the world. In the coming five years, China will import US$8 trillion worth of goods which is a big market and opportunity for Pakistan and the entire world.

Dear friend,China is ready to provide more public goods to the international community. One of the public goods that China provided is the Belt and Road Initiative. As you may recall, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held successfully in Beijing in May. More than 1,500 distinguished guests from 130 countries and 70 international organizations, including 29 state or government leaders from all over the world gathered together and discussed cooperation on the Belt and Road construction under the theme of win-win cooperation. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and senior ministers of Pakistan also attended the BRF forum in Beijing and contributed significantly to the success of the BRF forum. To our pride, CPEC has been highlighted as the flagship projects of the Belt and Road Initiative.

In his keynote speech, President Xi Jinping announced a series of measures or public goods to promote Belt and Road cooperation. For example, China will contribute an additional RMB 100 billion to the Silk Road Fund. The China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China will set up special lending schemes respectively worth RMB 250 billion equivalent and RMB 130 billion equivalent to support Belt and Road cooperation on infrastructure, industrial capacity and financing. China will provide assistance worth RMB 60 billion to developing countries and international organizations participating in the Belt and Road Initiative to launch more projects to improve people’s well-being. China will also train 5,000 foreign scientists, engineers and managers, and set up 50 joint laboratories.

Dear friends,

The BRI carries the virtue of peaceful cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning, mutual benefit and win-win spirit. This is the great spirit of Silk Road. It is also the guiding principles of CPEC.

CPEC, as a pilot project of the BRI, is now one of the earliest, fastest and most effective projects among all projects under the BRI.

Despite some noises on the media, CPEC projects on the ground are moving smoothly.

Now, after four years of hard work and joint efforts from both countries, 19 CPEC early-harvest projects are either completed or under construction, with a total contract amount of 18.5 billion USD investment landed. CPEC has come into the stage of early harvest. The Sahiwal Coal Power project is completed in only 22 months, which made new record as Pakistan Speed and will add 1320 megawatt of electricity to the national grid of Pakistan. The Port Qasim Coal-fired plant will be completed within this year. The three new quay cranes had stood on the Gwadar Port which will greatly activate cargo handling capacity of the port. The construction of the free zone in Gwadar is also moving forward. The CPEC long term plan will be finalized within this year, which will set the direction and focus area for CPEC construction in the future. Last week, NDRC led a 60+ delegation to Pakistan to discuss with Pakistani government on furthering cooperation on Gwadar port, special industrial zones, ML1, and making preparations for the 7th JCC of CPEC. There are more encouraging outcomes to be achieved in the near future.

Dear friends,

As a Chinese saying goes, a big tree grows from a downy tip. The promotion of CPEC today will help sow the seeds of hope for the grand forest of China-Pakistan friendship tomorrow. The CPEC is an unprecedented undertaking in the history of China-Pakistan relations. The completion of the mega project requires pioneering spirit, courage for struggle and perseverance. I am convinced that, with strong political ties as the guarantee and deep friendship as the support, China-Pakistan cooperation will embrace a better future for the benefits of the peoples of the region.

Think-tanks are for sure one of the most important contributors for BRI and CPEC construction with their intellectual advantage. During the BRF forum, one of 6 parallel sessions of the high-level dialogue was themed think-tank exchanges. I hope that the PCC could continually play an important role for introducing China to Pakistani friends, promoting CPEC construction and serving as a new bridge of friendship between China and Pakistan. The Embassy will continue to support the PCC in the future.

May I wish the Forum on China Pakistan Economic Corridor a full success.

Long live China-Pakistan friendship.


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