ISLAMABAD – China, on Wednesday, reacted very strongly to the allegations made by US Deputy Secretary of State, Alice Wells on the transparency of CPEC projects.
In a strongly-worded rebuke issued by the Chinese embassy in Pakistan, Wells’ claims were described as a repeat of “negative propaganda” by the US. “All Chinese companies joining the CPEC enjoy international reputation,” the statement read in response to Wells’ allegation that companies blacklisted by the World Bank had been awarded CPEC contracts. “The Chinese government always requests Chinese companies to operate according to local laws and regulations,” the embassy said. “The entire process is open and transparent and is in line with international norm. We keep in touch with the accountability agencies of Pakistan and it is agreed that the CPEC is clean.
On Wells’ assertion that Pakistan’s debt burden was growing due to the Chinese financing, the embassy retorted that the total foreign debt of Pakistan was $110 billion according to the statistics of the State Bank of Pakistan and international financial institutions including the Paris Club and IMF were its largest creditors. “loan for CPEC is about $5.8 billion, accounting for 5.3% of Pakistan’s total foreign debt, with a repayment period of 20-25 years and an interest rate of approximately 2%.
“We would be more than glad to see the US develop its relationship with Pakistan, but we strongly oppose the US interference in China-Pakistan relations and the CPEC. The embassy further stated that China and Pakistan were firmly committed to the principles of mutual consultation and cooperation for shared benefits in CPEC projects. “We put Pakistani people’s interests first.