The claims and reports that recently surfaced regarding China's reluctance to expand the scope of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are factually incorrect and misleading, the Ministry of Planning, Development & Special Initiatives said on Thursday.
A press release issued by the ministry stated that China and Pakistan are committed to expanding the scope of the mega developmental project to include new areas of cooperation such as water resources management, climate change, and tourism.
These areas were already part of the CPEC's Long Term Plan, and both sides agreed during the deliberations before the 11th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) to work out the detailed contours of these projects in upcoming sessions of respective Joint Working Groups (JWGs).
The JWGs are technical bodies comprising experts from both sides, responsible for conceiving and evaluating project proposals in their respective areas.
It is a standard procedure for CPEC projects, and it ensures that all proposals are carefully considered and that they meet the goals and objectives of the Long Term Plan.
CPEC projects have already been implemented and are ongoing in Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and the coastal areas of the country.
Even more projects in these areas are planned for the future, the ministry stated.
China and Pakistan have a time-tested friendship, and CPEC has greatly enhanced Pakistan's energy, logistical, and physical infrastructure capabilities.
The benefits of CPEC are widely distributed throughout Pakistan.
Both sides are fully resolved to now harness the investments in infrastructure for economic growth, particularly in export-oriented industries, agriculture productivity, and natural resource management, all while enhancing partnership in addressing the concerns of climate change and sustainable development.
Interim Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani, while addressing a press conference today (Thursday) said that Pakistan has entered the second phase of the mega developmental programme, which is a very transformational and important project for the country.
"There is absolutely no question of it being rolled back," he added.
The second phase of the mega project, the interim foreign minister said, would involve the upgradation of railways and agriculture, technical cooperation, information technology (IT) cooperation and many other areas.
He stressed that "only progress" will be seen in CPEC in days to come.