Chinese official warns security threats endanger CPEC, urges enhanced measures

An image of road which is part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

A high-ranking Chinese official warned that security is the main challenge threatening the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), emphasising the need for better security measures and a supportive business and media environment, Dawn reported.

Liu Jianchao, Minister of the Central Committee of the International Department of the Communist Party of China, spoke at the third meeting of the Pakistan-China Joint Consultative Mechanism, attended by representatives from major Pakistani political parties.

The Joint Consultative Mechanism (JCM) forum, initiated in 2019, met in person for the first time in five years, having held a virtual session in August 2020.

“Security threats are the main hazards to CPEC cooperation. Confidence is more precious than gold, and the security situation in Pakistan is the primary factor undermining Chinese investors’ confidence,” Liu stated.

Militants have increasingly targeted Chinese projects in Pakistan, including CPEC. Recent attacks include the Baloch Liberation Army’s attempted attack on the Gwadar Port Authority complex and a suicide bombing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Shangla district that killed five Chinese engineers and their local driver.

These attacks have slowed CPEC’s progress. Liu praised Pakistani law enforcement’s efforts to combat militancy but stressed the need for an improved business environment.

Pakistan struggles to attract Chinese investments due to financial instability and unmet commitments to Chinese firms. This is compounded by the reluctance of Chinese insurance company Sinosure to cover new projects, leading to a slowdown in project initiation and development of special economic zones, a key aspect of CPEC.

Liu called for a unified political effort to build public support and combat misinformation campaigns, emphasizing the need for a CPEC-friendly media environment and political stability for sustainable development.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to advancing CPEC into its second phase, highlighting a strong political consensus and the importance of Pakistan-China relations for regional peace and development, the report said.

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