China halts expansion of energy, water management with Pakistan under CPEC
China’s disagreement to further expand cooperation in areas of energy, water management, and climate change under the CPEC underscores “the challenges that both the sides are facing in deepening the economic ties
Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on November 13, 2016, opened a trade route linking the southwestern port of Gwadar some 700 km west of Karachi to the Chinese city of Kashgar as part of a joint multi-billion-dollar project to jumpstart economic growth in the South Asian country (Photo credit AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)
China has refused to further expand cooperation in the areas of energy, water management, and climate change under the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), it emerged on Tuesday (26) signalling a strain in the ‘ironclad’ friendship between the allies.
Cash-strapped Pakistan also gave up its opposition to setting up a new imported coal-fired power plant in Gwadar in Balochistan province and agreed to a number of Chinese demands to address Beijing’s concerns, The Express Tribune newspaper reported, citing the signed minutes of the 11th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of the CPEC.
The JCC is a strategic decision-making body of the CPEC and its 11th meeting was held virtually on October 27 last year on the insistence of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)-led government, which wanted to showcase some progress.
However, the minutes of the meeting were signed almost a year later, on July 31, during the visit of Chinese vice premier He Lifeng, highlighting the difference of opinions, the report said.
When contacted, the Ministry of Planning said it was a global practice for the minutes of meetings between two countries to be signed by both sides only after due consultation and evolving consensus.
China’s disagreement to further expand cooperation in areas of energy, water management, and climate change under the CPEC underscores “the challenges that both the sides are facing in deepening the economic ties”, the report said.
The $60 billion CPEC, which connects Gwadar Port in Pakistan’s Balochistan with China’s Xinjiang province, is the flagship project of China’s ambitious multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
It is seen as an attempt by China to further its influence abroad with infrastructure projects funded by Chinese investments all over the world.
The CPEC is a collection of infrastructure and other projects under construction throughout Pakistan since 2013.
India has protested to China over the CPEC as it is being laid through Kashmir.