China considers Pakistan most important partner in foreign policy: Parliamentary body told

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ISLAMABAD: Parliamentary Committee on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was informed here on Monday that China considers Pakistan the most important partner in its foreign policy.

Briefing the media after the meeting of the committee held here on Tuesday, Committee Chairman Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed quoted Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing as saying that China considers CPEC, one of the most powerful pillars of its grand One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative.

He said Yao Jing has vast experience in the region as he has served twice in Pakistan besides serving the Chinese embassy in New Delhi and Kabul. The meeting was informed that 2018 will be an important year for CPEC as during the year, a number of projects under it would be completed and the mega-project would enter into its practical phase.

It was also agreed in the meeting to take media into confidence in a bid to minimise negative news being propagated by the foreign media against CPEC and to ensure transparency in CPEC projects.

Furthermore, the meeting was also informed that special attention was being given to the establishment of nine Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under CPEC in various parts of the country in which private sector would specifically be taken on board.

The meeting was also informed that CEPC’s range would be extended to Afghanistan and the Middle East. In addition, the particular focus would also be laid on newly added sectors including agriculture, tourism, culture, and information and technology.

Meanwhile, senior officials of Ministry of Planning and Development informed the committee that a delegation headed by Secretary Planning Shoaib Siddiqui visited China last week to take forward the decision taken by 7th Joint Coordination Committee on CPEC in November last year in Pakistan.

The delegation specifically talked about Karachi Circular Railway project and up-gradation of 1870 km long Main Line 1 from Karachi to Torkhum.