ISLAMABAD: Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang on Tuesday said US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells’ remarks were a mere repetition of old slanders against China, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) like those chanted by some others in the US.
Geng Shuang said while responding to a question, during a regular press briefing in Beijing, regarding Wells accusation that the multi-billion project would only increase debt burden on Pakistan. She had also said that the American mode of economic cooperation was better than China’s.
The spokesperson said that the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan, and Pakistan’s foreign minister, federal minister for planning and development, speaker of the national assembly, and chairman of the senate foreign affairs committee had already responded to the criticism and rejected her claim.
“China and Pakistan have clarified and refuted such smears time and again. However, some in the US still use the same old script. They don’t stop though the show has become a complete disaster, and they don’t get off the stage even when booed by the audience,” he said.
He said major progress had been achieved on the CPEC projects during the last five years with early harvests reaped in at least 22 projects.
The spokesperson said the CPEC projects had significantly improved local transportation infrastructure and power supply, created tens of thousands of jobs for Pakistanis and contributed one to two percent of economic growth in Pakistan.
“In advancing CPEC development, China is committed to the principle of consultation and cooperation for shared benefits,” he said.
“As a matter of fact, half of Pakistan’s foreign debt is from multilateral financial institutions. More than 80 percent of CPEC projects are funded by direct investment or grants from China, with less than 20 percent using Chinese loans. According to statistics released by the Pakistani side, debt incurred from the CPEC stands at 4.9 billion US dollars, less than one tenth of Pakistan’s total debt.
“I’m afraid certain individuals in the US are not bad at math, but rather misguided by evil calculations,” he said responding to the debt issue.
Geng Shuang said if the US liked to cooperate with Pakistan and help it accelerate its development, it should take concrete measures and honor its commitments instead of always paying lip service and being the spoiler. “It is neither healthy nor honorable to prevent others from delivering what one fails to.”