Some 30,000 Chinese are working on different development projects including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a major cooperation project between Pakistan and China, Pakistan Ambassador to China, Masood Khalid said on Thursday.
“Pakistan’s government has deployed 15,000 soldiers to ensure their safety and safeguard the corridor while the four provinces of Pakistan have their own assigned forces to protect Chinese citizens,” he said in an interview.
He said security situation had much improved in Pakistan, especially in the past two years when security offensives against terrorists had achieved a comprehensive victory.
“The new prime minister has expressed his support for the CPEC,” Ambassador Khalid stressed and added, “He is very clear about this.”
He also revealed striking figures would show the extent of China’s investments in Pakistan and said, “China pumped US$1.8 billion into Pakistan last year. However, if all the projects including those that have already started but have not been completed and those that have not kicked off yet are taken into account, China’s investment in Pakistan exceeds US$ 50 billion.”
Ambassador Khalid said these investments were concentrated in energy and infrastructure industries.
However, the new trend is many smaller Chinese firms are also investing in Pakistan’s textile and food processing sectors as the country boasts huge market potential in these areas.
He underlined that the friendship between the two countries went well beyond economic cooperation. “Our friendship is true, time-tested friendship.”
“China offered timely assistance when Pakistan was hit by an earthquake in 2005, and Pakistan did so too when a tremor struck China’s Sichuan province in 2008.”
There were many such examples, meaning Pakistan was ready to help at any time if China had difficulties, and vice versa, he added.
He said, “China-Pakistan relations do not target any third parties but serve to promote peace, stability and development for our peoples.”
Responding to a question about the Indian media claims that China was teaming up with Pakistan against India, he said, “Peaceful coexistence is China’s approach to diplomacy and is also our policy. However, if our neighbor is combative, as a sovereign country, we must defend our territory.”