Interview: Pakistani envoy says Belt & Road Initiative "win-win for everyone"

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-01 13:37:54|Editor: Zhang Dongmiao
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by Xinhua writer Gu Zhenqiu

UNITED NATIONS, March 31 (Xinhua) -- The Pakistani UN ambassador, Maleeha Lodhi, said that China's Belt and Road Initiative is a "win-win for everybody" while "connecting hearts" in countries along its path.

Lodhi told Xinhua that she looks forward to a high-level forum to be hosted by China in May to boost international cooperation to carry out the landmark Chinese initiative.

The Belt & Road Initiative "is win-win for the whole region," said Lodhi, the permanent representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, "We look forward to this meeting."

She added it is certainly "a cornerstone of Pakistan's foreign policy on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor", which is part of the Belt & Road Initiative.

China plans to host a Belt and Road forum for international cooperation in Beijing this May to brainstorm on interconnected development.

The Belt and Road Initiative, comprising the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, was put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. It aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa.

"And we would like to play a leading role in ensuring regional connectivity, which brings not just people together, but hearts together, because regional connectivity aims to ensure that all people prosper from economic cooperation and trade relations," she said.

The Belt & Road Initiative "is one of bringing economic prosperity through regional connectivity to all the countries," she added.

"This is something, of course, my country always welcomes because my country's relations with China are like what President Xi described as 'iron brothers'," said Lodhi.

The Belt and Road Initiative has won support from more than 100 countries and international organizations, with nearly 50 cooperation agreements signed between governments.

Given the solid relationship between China and Pakistan, Lodhi said her country has a pivotal role to play in ensuring the vision is translated into reality. "And, of course, all people will benefit from this."

She said Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the people of Pakistan believed that this initiative is going to transform the region.

The initiative is also one that will "help to foster the notion that we have a shared future," added the ambassador.

"I think this initiative will help us translate those opportunities into actual accomplishments on the ground, ensuring that our people have a better life, our people have the economic goods and the economic prosperity that is the dividend of peace in our region," she said.

Meanwhile, Lodhi stressed that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a good example of the international efforts to carry out the Belt and Road Initiative.

"This is a model and an example for the rest of the world of how two countries can also cooperate in a manner that benefits both," she said.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, proposed by China in 2013, is a 3,000-km network of roads, railways and pipelines linking Kashgar in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and southwest Pakistan's Gwadar Port.

Lodhi, Pakistan's first female UN ambassador, served as Pakistan's ambassador to the United States twice (1993-1996, 1999-2002) and as high commissioner to Britain (2003-2008).

She also served as a member of the UN secretary-general's Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters from 2001 to 2005.

In 1994, the U.S. magazine Time nominated her as one of a hundred people in the world who would help shape the 21st century.