China says there is no change in the route of the multi-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and that the two countries have in fact agreed on a single route.
The first ever clarification from Chinese officials came following claims by some political leaders that the government has modified the CPEC’s original road. The Awami National Party alleges that the PML-N govt had altered the route that could deprive parts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
But Chinese officials insist that Pakistan and China had “agreed on a single route and no question arise to change it.”
“The debate should come to an end for the fundamental interest of Pakistan. All circles in Pakistan are expected to understand and support the construction of CPEC, work together to build a friendly environment of public opinion, promote the projects and benefit local people as soon as possible,” a Chinese official told a group of journalists in an informal interaction on Sunday.
The CPEC starting from Kashgar in China’s Xinjiang province runs throughout the whole Pakistan, and finally reaches GwadarPort in the south in Balochistan.
In May 2013, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang paid a visit to Pakistan and reached important consensus with Pakistan leaders on planning and constructing the CPEC. During Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to China in July, 2013, the construction of CPEC was reiterated.
“The debate on the alignment of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will only add divergence between different regions and parties in Pakistan,” said the Chinese official, who wished not to be identified by name as he is not allowed to speak on the record.
“The current alignment of CPEC is out of thorough and in-depth feasibility studies and will bring about great benefits to Pakistan. That’s why both sides decided to start with KKH Phase II, highway between Multan and Sukkur, some energy projects, among others.”
The early harvests from these projects will help accumulate good experience and pave the way for the future cooperation between the two countries, he said, adding with the construction of CPEC, more projects will be built in every region of Pakistan.