Pakistan says Chinese loans coming in few days; Beijing silent

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Beijing, Jan 25 (IANS) China on Friday evaded a question whether it was issuing fresh loans to Islamabad in the next few days as stated by Pakistan’s Finance Minister.

“I have no specific information, but one thing is sure that we will provide our utmost assistance for the economic development of Pakistan,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing here.

“Pakistan and China enjoy very sound relations. We have also made efforts to support its social and economic development. As to the current difficulties confronted by Pakistan, they will resolve it,” Hua added.

At a press conference in Islamabad, Pakistani Finance Minister Asad Umar said on Thursday that “after the support from Saudi Arabia and UAE, we are expecting finance from China within next few days”.

Pakistan is nearly broke with the foreign cash reserves drying and external debt mounting.

To stave off the crisis, Islamabad has turned to Saudi Arabia and its greatest ally China. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan last year travelled to Riyadh and Beijing to seek loans.

While Khan managed to secure a loan of $6 billion from Saudis, it is not known if China has made any commitment to Pakistan after publicly vowing to help the country “tide over” the crisis.

China on earlier occasions had issues loans to Pakistan, a scenario, experts fear, might compromise Islamabad’s sovereignty.

Islamabad has also sought a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF wants Islamabad to disclose financial details of the Chinese-funded China-Pakistan Economic Corridor for providing the bailout package.

However, the Chinese are wary of Islamabad going to the IMF, dominated by its rival, the US which opposes the Belt and Road project.

Experts say that the Chinese have pushed Pakistan into heavy debt through the CPEC, a charge denied by Beijing.



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