Pakistan denies China’s funding halt for CPEC projects

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Islamabad, Dec 14 (IANS) Pakistan on Thursday refuted reports that Beijing had halted payments on some of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects in the country.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Muhammad Faisal at a briefing said there was no news from Beijing that the Chinese government was halting funding for any of the projects, adding that execution of payments takes place in a specific manner.

The Foreign Office’s denial came days after Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said that China had halted the release of funds for three CPEC projects till the revision of its “financial mechanism” by Beijing.

According to a press release by the National Assembly Secretariat on December 11, Iqbal informed the 25th parliamentary committee meeting on the CPEC that the work on these projects would only restart after approval from Beijing.

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The three projects are related to the road network.

Another member of the committee, Al-Haj Gul Khan Afridi, had said that they were told earlier that China had not stopped financing the CPEC projects but raised some “technical objections” to the projects, Dawn online reported.

A team of Chinese experts will arrive in the country soon to inspect the National Highways Authority projects, Afridi added.

A senior NHA official had also rejected the government claim that work on the road projects was halted.

The CPEC is a flagship project of China’s Belt and Road initiative. The 3,000 km, over $50 billion corridor stretches from Kashgar in western China to Gwadar port in Pakistan on the Arabian sea.

The Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of the CPEC had approved the long-term plan on November 21 without agreeing on development projects and special economic zones.

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