Chinese, Pakistan leaders prepare to meet amid debt concerns

Rising Kashmir

India logdes protest against Pakistan, China over bus services which passes through Pak-Occupied Kashmir

The prime minister's visit is aimed at reviewing the entire range of bilateral relations and to participate in the First China International Import Expo in Shanghai.

Last month, Pakistan received a $6 billion rescue package from Saudi Arabia, but officials say it is not enough and the country still plans to seek a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to avert a balance of payments crisis.

Talking to media in Islamabad on Friday, he termed PM Imran's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping successful, adding that a Pakistan is likely to receive a huge financial package from Beijing.

Fawad Chaudhry said that PM Imran's meeting with the Chinese president was successful. He said we desire to learn from the experiences and successes of China in different sectors.

"Pakistan-China friendship is deeply rooted in the mind of Pakistani people", Khan said, noting that Pakistan is devoted to furthering the relations with China and the construction of CPEC, so as to benefit the economic and social development of Pakistan.

Khan's PTI party, an acronym for its name in the Urdu language, has said the project is too heavy on infrastructure, has too many projects in India's Punjab state and too much corruption.

Pakistan's foreign reserves have plunged 42 per cent since the start of the year and now stand at about $8 billion, or less than two months of import cover.

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A report by China's state broadcaster CCTV said Xi was joined in the meeting by Politburo member Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

He would hold talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Saturday after which both the countries would sign several agreements.

Khan is accompanied by foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, finance minister Umar, Advisor on Commerce and Trade Abdul Razzak Dawood, railways minister Sheikh Rasheed among others.

His visit here was regarded as significant as it is taking place amid critical remarks made by some ministers in Khan's Cabinet on the CPEC which had caused consternation among Chinese leaders considering the "all-weather" relations.

While that has yet to happen, the sides have begun reassessing some aspects of the Pakistan section of Belt and Road, known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, including scaling back the development of Pakistan's Arabian Sea port of Gwadar. "It has nothing to do with the territorial dispute and it will not affect China's principled position on the issue of Kashmir", Mr. Lu observed. He said the goodwill among the peoples of Pakistan and China provided a firm basis for the Pakistan-China all-weather strategic cooperative partnership for a shared future.

The statements evoked serious concerns in China as the CPEC is the flagship project of President Xi's pet multi-billion BRI.

In an interview to the Chinese state-run media ahead of his visit, Khan said the CPEC has given Pakistan a great opportunity to bring in foreign investment and to get out of the hard economic situation it is facing.

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