The Chinese embassy in Pakistan on Wednesday took exception to senior US diplomat Alice Wells’ criticism of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), terming it “negative propaganda” by the US to interfere in China-Pakistan relations and CPEC.
“Although you can never wake up a person who is pretending to be asleep, we have to make our position clear and reject the negative propaganda by the US,” the embassy’s spokesperson said in response to a question, according to a press release.
The rebuke comes a day after Wells criticised the flagship project of China’s One Belt One Road Initiative and alleged that there was no transparency in CPEC projects. Wells had also claimed that Pakistan’s debt burden was growing due to the Chinese financing.
Responding to her comments on Wednesday, the Chinese embassy spokesperson said, “The comments hold nothing new, but the same cliche in her speech in November, 2019, which has been repeatedly rejected by China and Pakistan.” It added that “we must not let the truth be distorted and the lies run wild”.
With regard to Wells’ allegations about blacklisted firms getting contracts in CPEC, the embassy spokesperson said, “The Chinese government always requests the Chinese companies to operate according to local laws and regulations.
“The entire process is open and transparent and is in line with international norm. We keep in touch with the relative accountability agencies of Pakistan and it is agreed that the CPEC is clean.”
To another point raised by Wells regarding CPEC’s contribution to raising Pakistan’s foreign debt, the spokesperson clarified that “according to statistics from the State Bank of Pakistan, the total foreign debt of Pakistan is US $110 billion.
“In fact, international financial institutions including the Paris Club and IMF are the largest creditors of Pakistan. Loan for the CPEC is about $5.8 billion, accounting for 5.3 per cent of Pakistan’s total foreign debt.
“China will continue to work with the Pakistani government and people to steadily advance the BRI and CPEC to promote regional peace and development,” the spokesperson added.