China says willing to help Pakistan over fiscal crisis

China says willing to help Pakistan over fiscal crisis

China says willing to help Pakistan over fiscal crisis

State Councillor Wang Yi, the Chinese government's top diplomat, reportedly told Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a separate meeting: "The Chinese side will continue to provide support and help to the best of its ability for Pakistan's economic and social development and national construction".

The meeting follows talks with president Xi Jinping on Friday, where the former cricket star bemoaned his country's financial woes, saying the economy was at a "low point".

'Pakistan has always been regarded as a foreign policy priority by China'.

Khan is here on his maiden visit to China as the two countries grapple to iron out differences over the multi-billion-dollar CPEC and Islamabad approaching "friendly nations" to avoid a tough International Monetary Fund bailout package. "Your visit will further consolidate and develop the firm, enduring ties between our two countries".

'CPEC in 2013 was just an idea. Now it is on the ground.

'We feel that this great opportunity for our country to progress, to attract investment. You will see the difference because a lot has happened since 2013. "No other nation has held so many powerful people accountable for corruption in the last five years", he said, and added that his government and party wanted to learn from China in this area also because white collar crime was very hard to detect.

Pakistan has taken out billions of dollars in loans from China in recent years for infrastructure projects, the terms of which remain largely undisclosed.

Khan is scheduled to meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Saturday, after which the two leaders will oversee the signing of a series of agreements, possibly including new loans.

"During the visit the two sides have made it clear in principle that the Chinese government will provide necessary support and assistance to Pakistan in tiding over the current economic difficulties", Kong said.

"Though China is Pakistan's closest ally, Khan's newly elected government has sought to re-think the two countries' signature project, the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which Beijing touts as the flagship infrastructure program in its vast Belt and Road Initiative", Reuters pointed out.

Since taking office, Khan has softened his criticisms of the Chinese-backed projects and Finance Minister Asad Umar has said a review of contracts signed by the previous government has so far turned up no irregularities.

Pakistan is now battling serious economic crisis including balance of payments. "China is the one country from which we can learn", he said.

"The dimension of the industrial cooperation will be introduced into the CPEC going forward".

However the scope of the project would increase and will tilt in favour of people's livelihoods, Kong said, also without elaborating.

Asked about the cooperation on counter-terrorism, Kong said: "all areas of cooperation have been covered and we also expressed positive wish for strengthening cooperation".

China and Pakistan refer to themselves as "all-weather friends", united in their rivalry against mutual neighbor India and entwined in a web of military, political and economic links.

Earlier, President Xi warmly welcomed Prime Minister Imran Khan and his delegation upon their arrival at the Great Hall of the People.

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