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“One Belt One Road Provides New Drive for Regional Sustainable Development”

By Meng Xianglin, Xin Benjian,  Li Xia, Zhang Pei (People's Daily)    14:59, April 08, 2016

Mr.Masood Khalid, Ambassador of Pakistan to China

Pakistan has shown a positive attitude towards the ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative. From Asia Pacific region to South Asia and from Middle East to Europe, ‘One Belt One Road’ aims at strengthening cooperation between countries along the belt and road to realize the goal of policy coordination, connectivity of infrastructure, trade and investment facilitation, people to people exchange and so on. The political and economic growth dividend brought by the ‘One Belt One Road’initiative would be unprecedented and all of Pakistan’s political parties and sections of society are very supportive of the construction of ‘One Belt One Road’.

On April 1st, Ambassador of Pakistan to China, Mr.Masood Khalid accepted the interview with the People’s Daily. Ambassador got straight to point and reiterated the firm support of Pakistani government and society to “One Belt One Road”.

Last April, during Chinese President Xi’s visit to Pakistan, the bilateral relations of China and Pakistan were upgraded to all-weather strategic cooperative partnership. The two sides identified the “1+4” cooperation layout, including the construction of China Pakistan Economic Corridor, Gwadar Port, Energy, Infrastructure, Industrial cooperation. Ambassador Masood Khalid said that the construction of CPEC has achieved steady progress this year, the two big road projects ---Karachi to Lahore motorway project (Sukur to Multan) and Karakorum highway upgradation project will start soon; Orange Line project in Lahore has started. CPEC is becoming an important platform for deepening the two countries’ concrete cooperation and really is the flagship project of “One Belt One Road”.

To date, Pakistan government has identified 29 industrial parks. Among them, initially the free trade zone of Haier-Ruba industrial park, phase two, and free trade zone of Gwadar will be launched. Other industrial parks will be decided by both sides through mutual consultations. Ambassador Masood Khalid expressed hope that these industrial parks will be along the entire route of CPEC and thus lead to the whole economic development of Pakistan.

When it came to the significance of “One Belt One Road” initiative, Ambassador Masood Khalid said: “‘One Belt One Road’ sticks to the notion of ‘build and share’ and it shares the same development goal and direction with Pakistan. The construction of CPEC is an important consensus reached by the leaders of China and Pakistan. It will optimize the trade and energy cooperation between China and Pakistan and benefit 3 billion people in China, South Asia and Middle East.” He pointed out that CPEC is the catalyst of regional economic integration, peace and stability.

People say that the territory of Pakistan is like a corridor which connects China and Arabian Sea and Pakistan is a bridge between China and the world. Ambassador Masood Khalid agreed with this point of view. He said: “Favorable geographic location, rich natural resources and relatively low labor cost make Pakistan a market full of opportunities. I hope China and Pakistan can achieve greater progress through cooperation in various fields including textile, steel, energy, information technology, mining, fuel oil, food, medicine, fishery, etc. Pakistan is willing to facilitate connectivity between China and the world.”

When talking about security issues that people are most concerned of, Ambassador Masood Khalid stated that Pakistani government had placed the personal safety and asset security of Chinese personnel in Pakistan as their first priority. Pakistani government had set up a special force to protect the security of Chinese workers. In addition, Punjab province has also set up a special force to protect the security of Chinese people. As introduced by Ambassador Masood Khalid, there is remarkable improvement of security situation in Pakistan compared with the past. The military operation launched last year has achieved significant effect which have wiped out more than 3400 terrorists, destroyed 837 strongholds and the number of terrorist attacks have decreased from 890 in 2014 to 201 in 2015.

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of relations between China and Pakistan. The all-weather friendship and all-round cooperation not only includes communication in politics, economy and security but also includes communication in culture and education. Ambassador Masood Khalid said: “we are making our efforts to build more communication and cooperation between the universities and think tanks of two countries. We hope we can get China’s support and help in promoting Chinese teaching in Pakistan. Confucius Institutes have been playing an important role in Chinese teaching. We hope the hundred member Chinese youth delegation can visit Pakistan this year. We will try our best to build a cultural and education corridor between China and Pakistan so that the friendship of our two countries can be carried on from generation to generation. “

At the end of this interview, Ambassador Masood Khalid stated that CPEC has injected more meaning into the concept of “shared destiny” of China and Pakistan and CPEC will become a model for China to build “shared destiny” with other neighboring countries. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Editor:Wu Chengliang,Bianji)

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