China Is Next on Khan's List as Pakistan Looks for Bailout Money

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Bus service between the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China's west and the city of Lahore of Pakistan's Punjab province is set to be launched on November 3.

"Though China is Pakistan's closest ally, Khan's newly elected government has sought to re-think the two countries' signature project, the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which Beijing touts as the flagship infrastructure program in its vast Belt and Road Initiative", Reuters pointed out.

While Commerce Minister Dawood told the Financial Times that some of the CPEC agreements were unfair to Pakistani companies and should be put on hold for a year, Railways Minister Rasheed said that Pakistan wants to cut the size of the Dollars 8 billion Karachi-Peshawar rail line, the biggest project of the CPEC, by USD 2 billion.

While neither of the leaders made any specific references to economic aid during their talks, Khan is keen to negotiate a bailout from Beijing to tackle Pakistan's fiscal crisis.

The Prime Minister said CPEC was going in stages including roads, development of Gwadar, which was the second deepest port after Singapore, and some power projects that became part of CPEC.

China's stand he said is that the "cooperation between China and Pakistan has nothing to do with the territorial dispute and will not affect China's principled position on Kashmir", he said. "India continues to maintain its illegal hold over Jammu & Kashmir through brutal use of force".

He said his government and party wanted to learn from China in this area because white-collar crime was very hard to detect.

Khan is also keen to renegotiate Islamabad's projects under the "Belt and Road Initiative", Beijing's global trade and infrastructure development programme.

In a meeting with Chinese IDCPC Minister Song Tao in Beijing, he said such exchanges would ensure that the exceptional friendship between Pakistan and China endured from generation to generation.

He said that the government is also making all-out efforts for poverty alleviation.

Chinese Minister Song on the occasion said the prime minister's first official visit to China since assuming office was keeping with the time-honoured traditions of the special friendship between Pakistan and China. "These relations have not only benefited the two all-weather strategic partners but the region and world".

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.

The agreements were signed during delegation-level talks between the two countries at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The two ministers discussed further building the bilateral relationship on the 10-point agenda covering multifaceted practical cooperation.

Both foreign ministers underscored the importance of the Pakistan-China all-weather strategic cooperative partnership for shared future in the new era, the spokesman said.

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