Published: Sat, November 03, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Imran Khan hoping for a bailout from China, Pakistan’s ‘all-weather’ friend

Imran Khan hoping for a bailout from China, Pakistan’s ‘all-weather’ friend

On the first day of his four-day visit to China, Prime Minister Imran Khan met Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) President Jin Liqun and exchanged views on the matters related to economic reforms and financial development.

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.

Yao Jing, China's ambassador to Pakistan, told reporters in Islamabad on October 27 that Pakistan is expected to receive good news from the visit.

India on Wednesday said it has lodged strong protests with China and Pakistan over the proposed bus service between the two countries through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) under the so called "China-Pakistan Economic Corridor" or "CPEC" project.

The loan and the investments were reportedly part of the $6 billion package.

Neither man mentioned any economic aid in comments made in front of reporters.

Pakistan is now hoping to secure help from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to avert the crisis in what would be the nation's 13th rescue package from the lender in 30 years.

India has also been protesting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, which is a slew of infrastructure projects that are now underway through Pakistan.

Khan's visit to China will provide an "opportunity" for the two countries to open a "new chapter" of bilateral relations "under the new circumstances", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Monday.

"I think that it's in China's best long-term interest to be able to show some flexibility and be able to cancel some projects that fail, frankly", Hillman said.

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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.

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 Pakistani side is willing to reinforce communication and coordination in multilateral affairs with China, Khan added.

Imran will meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Saturday when the two countries are expected to sign a series of agreements.

It is also seeking fresh loans from Saudi Arabia and China, discussion of which is expected to dominate Khan's visit.

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

The CPEC involves a host of projects connects China's Xinjiang province with Pakistan's Gwadar port in Balochistan province.

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.

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

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