(Yicai Global) Aug. 18 -- Aug. 14 marks the 70th anniversary of Pakistan's independence. As the country celebrates this important date, China's state-run daily, Global Times, interviewed Masood Khalid, Pakistan's ambassador to Beijing, on China-Pakistan relations.
"The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a major cooperation project of the two countries," Khalid told Global Times. "Some 30,000 Chinese are working in Pakistan. The Pakistani government has deployed 15,000 soldiers to ensure their safety and safeguard the economic corridor." The four provinces of Pakistan have their own assigned forces to protect Chinese people.
Domestic security has much improved in Pakistan, especially in the past two years when security offensives against terrorists have achieved a comprehensive victory, Khalid said. "As for the recent political turmoil and replacement of the prime minister, the new prime minister has expressed his support for the CPEC," Khalid stressed. "He is very clear about this."
Pakistan's ambassador to Beijing has revealed striking figures to show the extent of China's investments in his country. "China pumped USD1.8 billion into Pakistan last year. However, if all the projects including those that have already started but have not been completed and those that have not kicked off yet are taken into account, China's investment in Pakistan exceeds USD50 billion, including USD45 billion worth of projects that have been implemented," he said. These investments are concentrated in energy and infrastructure industries. However, the new trend is many smaller Chinese firms are also investing in Pakistan's textile and food processing sectors as the country boasts huge market potential in these areas.
The friendship between the two countries goes well beyond economic cooperation. "Our friendship is true, time-tested friendship," Khalid underlined. "China offered timely assistance when Pakistan was hit by an earthquake in 2005, and Pakistan did so too when a tremor struck China's Sichuan province in 2008." There are many such examples, meaning Pakistan is ready to help at any time if China has difficulties, and vice versa, Khalid added.
"China-Pakistan relations do not target any third parties but serve to promote peace, stability and development for our peoples," Khalid said in response to the Global Times question about the Indian media claims that China is teaming up with Pakistan against India. "Peaceful coexistence is China's approach to diplomacy and is also our policy. However, if our neighbor is combative, as a sovereign country, we must defend our territory."