by Raheela Nazir
ISLAMABAD, June 29 (Xinhua) -- The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a key component of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, is a pivotal stepping stone to Pakistan's development and prosperity and a symbol of Pakistan-China friendship, a Pakistani minister said on Tuesday.
Over the years, the friendship between the two countries has flourished into an all-weather strategic cooperative partnership with the CPEC being the focal point, Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan told Xinhua.
With investments in the country's modern transportation networks including roads and railways, energy projects, ports and special economic zones, the CPEC has been offering tremendous potential for Pakistan to promote sustainable development and economic growth, the minister said.
A number of Chinese companies have been operating in Pakistan's various major sectors including energy and civil construction industries, he said, adding, "We want Chinese companies to relocate to Pakistan, use this as a springboard for producing goods and services and exporting them to the Central Asian countries, Middle East and Africa."
"This can help Pakistan boost exports, generate employment and strengthen national economy," Khan said.
Khan believed that the economic relationship between Pakistan and China is based on a win-win formula and beneficial for both countries.
Pakistan's Gwadar port being ideally positioned, can link China to Africa, the Middle East and the rest of the world. It will be providing huge opportunities as it will cut down a lot of shipping time and cost for Chinese vessels, he said.
"I think Pakistan can serve as springboard for China to utilize its areas for access to other countries, build trade linkages, make investments and make China an even more economically stronger country," the minister said.
Talking about the assistance provided by China during the COVID-19 pandemic, Khan said that it was a great contribution by China when Pakistan was fighting against the deadly invisible enemy.
"It just proves that our hearts beat as one...and I would always say that in hard times and in good times the two iron brothers are always going to stand side by side, and we have already proven this to the world," he said.
Pakistan had been under immense economic pressure due to complete or partial lockdowns across the country, and the timely provision of vaccines and other aid by China has helped in bringing normalization and economic prosperity to Pakistan, the minister added. Enditem