More talks needed to help Pakistan over fiscal crisis, says China

China said on Saturday it was willing to offer assistance to Pakistan to help it weather its current fiscal woes but that terms of such aid are still being discussed.

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That followed a meeting in Beijing between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Imran Khan, who met the previous day with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Following Li’s meeting with Khan, Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou said the two sides had “made it clear in principle that the Chinese government will provide necessary support and assistance to Pakistan in tiding over the current economic difficulties.

“As for the specific measures to be taken, the competent authorities of the two sides will have detailed discussions,” Kong told reporters.

And despite Pakistan’s looming balance of payments crisis, Kong said there were no plans to scale back the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), although he did say it would be altered somewhat to “tilt in favour of areas relating to people’s lives”.

“There’s been no change in the number of CPEC projects. If there were to be any change, it would be an increase going forward,” he said.

Media reports had earlier said China was preparing a $6 billion package of aid, including loans and additional investment for CPEC.

The issue did not come up in opening remarks between Li and Khan. Li said Prime Minister Khan’s visit would “further consolidate and develop the firm, enduring ties between our two countries”.

Khan responded by saying that CPEC had evolved from the concept stage to showing tangible results “on the ground” that have “caught the imagination of the people of Pakistan.

“We feel that this is a great opportunity for our country to progress, to attract investment. It gives us an opportunity to raise our standard of living (and) growth rate,” Khan said.

AP

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