China will not let Pakistan down

Rising Kashmir

India logdes protest against Pakistan, China over bus services which passes through Pak-Occupied Kashmir

India has also been protesting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project - a key project under Chinese President Xi Jinping's pet Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) - as it runs through the PoK.

China has pledged more than $60 billion to Pakistan in the form of loans and investments for roads, ports, power plants and industrial parks.

Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou, who briefed the media after Li-Khan talks, said China will provide "necessary support" to Pakistan to tide over the present financial crisis but declined to reveal the amount.

"As for the specific measures to be taken, the competent authorities will have detailed discussion", he said, hinting that more talks will follow.

"We need foreign investments more than ever before, because we have a current account deficit", the Pakistani premier said, a day after he invited Chinese businessmen to explore Pakistan's vast investment potential. "If there were, it would only be to increase, not decrease" the number of projects, he added.

Islamabad is seeking loans from "friendly" countries, including Saudi Arabia and China, as it grapples with a growing financial crisis.

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He said China was ready to work together with the new government under Prime Minister Imran Khan to build a community of shared destiny for mankind.

Further complicating matters, the United States, which strongly influences the International Monetary Fund, has said it will not finance the repayment of Pakistan's Chinese loans.

"But on the issue of Kashmir, China's position is clear cut".

To facilitate this process, the two countries discussed methods to establish a committee to encourage youth exchange programs and ensure cooperation in the area. Li said the former cricket star's visit would "further consolidate and develop the firm, enduring ties between our two countries".

In Saturday's meeting, Khan told Li the planned economic corridor had "caught the imagination of the people of Pakistan".

While India, which is backed by the USA and a number of western countries has garnered the support of a majority of the group's members, China has stuck to its stand that new members should sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), making India's entry hard as the group is guided by the consensus principle.

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Once a CPEC critic during the previous Nawaz Sharif government, Khan said: the CPEC "gives us an opportunity to raise our standard of living, growth rate".

China has also blocked India's efforts to list Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist under the United Nations sanctions regime.

State Councillor Wang Yi, the Chinese government's top diplomat, reportedly told Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a separate meeting: "The Chinese side will continue to provide support and help to the best of its ability for Pakistan's economic and social development and national construction".

However, the fiscal crisis has put Khan's administration under early pressure, sparking public anger over the rising prices of basic goods.

But Pakistan's ability to meet the repayments has always been a matter of some concern and Khan had signalled before his election victory that he was keen to renegotiate some of the deals.

Reforms are urgently needed and China is willing to help as much as it can.

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