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China says ‘plots’ to undermine its relations with Pakistan won’t work

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also tells Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi that the two countries are ‘all-weather strategic partners’

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2018, 4:42pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2018, 10:49pm

China lashed out at “plots” to undermine its relations with Pakistan, and reaffirmed its commitment to investments there, when the countries’ foreign ministers met in New York on Tuesday.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the United Nations general assembly meetings, saying ties between the two nations were still in good shape after Pakistan’s recent election.

“China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic partners, and any plots to interfere with China-Pakistan relations will not be successful,” Wang was quoted as saying by the Chinese foreign ministry, without elaborating.

He also said the two nations should continue pushing forward construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, as well as bilateral trade and investment.

China urges Pakistan to help maintain trust after new government hints at rethink over economic corridor

Calls have been mounting for Pakistan to review the economic corridor – a Beijing-funded investment project worth about US$62 billion – since Imran Khan was elected as prime minister in July.

The project has been criticised as part of China’s “debt trap” diplomacy that sees smaller nations becoming indebted to it.

Abdul Razak Dawood, a Pakistani official responsible for commerce, textiles, industry and investment, earlier told the Financial Times that Pakistani companies had been put in a “disadvantaged” position and suggested Islamabad stretch out the economic corridor for five years.

The Chinese government denied Pakistan was seeking to delay the project, but the two sides agreed to invite third-country investors to be part of the economic corridor.

Last week, Khan visited Saudi Arabia and invited the Middle East kingdom to take part in the infrastructure project.

Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry did not say if Saudi Arabia would loan money to Pakistan, but said he expected the kingdom would invest in a major way.

In Pakistan, Chinese money grapples with a Karachi-Lahore divide

In the meeting on Tuesday, Qureshi said Islamabad would take measures to ensure security along the economic corridor.

“The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is an important project for Pakistan that will have a deep impact on the nation’s development, jobs and public livelihood,” he said.

Qureshi also said relations between China and Pakistan would not change regardless of the circumstances.

Wang also met his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday, calling on Beijing and Moscow to uphold free trade and multilateralism in the face of confrontations with the United States.

Wang and Lavrov reaffirmed that this month’s meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok had increased “strategic trust” between the two countries.

The Xi-Putin meeting coincided with joint military exercises between Russia, China and Mongolia involving 300,000 troops – the largest war games in Russia since 1981 that were seen by analysts as a sign of stronger ties between Beijing and Moscow.