Pakistan invites Saudi to invest in China economic corridor

1170 views
File photo shows a container is loaded on to the first Chinese container ship to depart after the inauguration of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor port in Gwadar, Pakistan. — Reuters

ISLAMABAD — Islamabad has invited Saudi Arabia to invest in the Beijing-funded, multi-billion dollar infrastructure corridor being constructed in Pakistan, its information minister said Thursday, as concerns grow over the country's debt levels.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an ambitious plan to build energy and transport links connecting the western Chinese region of Xinjiang with the Arabian Sea via Pakistan, as part of Beijing's broader Belt and Road initiative.

But the opaqueness of CPEC financing has led to concerns as Pakistan faces a looming balance-of-payments crisis, including fears about the country's ability to repay Chinese loans.

"Saudi Arabia is the first country whom we have invited to join CPEC as third partner," Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told reporters in Islamabad after Khan's maiden foreign trip to the Kingdom.

He said a Saudi delegation including the finance and energy ministers will visit Pakistan in the first week of October to lay the foundations for "big financial cooperation" between the two countries.

He did not gave further details of the new "partnership", but said Saudi Arabia would have direct investments in major projects under the proposal.

"So now in CPEC, our third strategic partner and economic partner will be Saudi Arabia and by the grace of God huge investments will come from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan," he said.

China's massive "Belt and Road" initiative seeks to revive ancient trade routes through a massive rail and maritime network via $1 trillion in investments across Asia and Europe.

Analysts have said this time that the new government will have to act quickly as the country teeters on the verge of a new balance-of-payments crisis, which could threaten its currency and its ability to repay debts or pay for imports. — AFP


1170 views