The Chinese foreign ministry on Tuesday refuted the Financial Times article regarding China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) saying that it is a priority for Pakistan.
Geng Shuang, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, said the Pakistani side clearly stated that the CPEC is a priority for them.
The Pakistan-China relationship is "unbreakable" and the Pakistani government’s commitment to the CPEC remains unwavering, the spokesperson added.
He said that the Pakistani side refused to acknowledge the report by saying that the article was out of context and distorted the original intention.
Financial Times quoted Adviser to Pakistan PM for Commerce, Production, and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood as saying: "Pakistan should put everything on hold for a year so we can get our act together.
"We have noticed the relevant reports and also noted that the officials have come forward to clarify," Geng said, adding that Pakistan has set up a nine-member committee to evaluate the CPEC.
"The purpose is to strengthen and speed up the construction of the corridor and make the construction results better benefit the ordinary people of Pakistan, rather than delaying the construction of the corridor," the spokesperson explained.
He remarked that multi-billion dollar corridor is a major economic cooperation project, initiated in response to the needs of the Pakistani side. "The construction of the economic corridor has a good driving effect on the economic and social development of Pakistan."
Geng further said that, at present, there are 22 cooperative projects under the framework of CPEC, nine of which have been completed and 13 are under construction, with a total investment of 19 billion US dollars, driving the annual economic growth of Pakistan by 1 to 2 percentage points, and creating 70,000 jobs for Pakistani nationals.
"These results are real and obvious to all," he added.
During the visit of State Councilor Wang Yi to Pakistan, officials of the the new Pakistani government stated that the CPEC is a landmark project of economic cooperation between the two countries and will continue to bring tangible benefits to the Pakistani people.
"The new-elected Pakistani government is committed to comprehensively deepening the construction of the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor and is willing to cooperate fully with China to build this project," the spokesperson mentioned.
He said that during the visit of State Councilor Wang Yi to Pakistan, China and Pakistan reached a new important consensus promoting the construction CPEC in an improved way.
"The two sides will enhance building of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and decide the future development path and the course for cooperation through negotiations in light of Pakistan's next-stage, socio-economic development priorities and the needs of its people. The two sides also agreed that corridor construction can absorb third-party participation and benefit the entire region," Geng said.
He further stated that China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is open, inclusive, transparent, and pursues the principle of sharing and building.
Over the past five years, the spokesperson said, the BRI has become an important international cooperation platform and an important international public product for promoting multilateralism and economic globalisation.
Geng said that at present, more than 130 countries and international organisations have signed BRI cooperation documents with China.
He mentioned that had the BRI been a geopolitical initiative, as some people have described, facing many risks and causing various crisis traps, then it would not have been so popular and progressed not so fast.
"All in all, we welcome all countries to participate in the construction of the Belt & Road Initiative to jointly promote regional connectivity, development, prosperity, and better benefit the people of all countries," the spokesperson said.