Pakistan, China rubbish US top official remarks over CPEC


Islamabad, Oct 7 (TNS): Pakistan and China on Saturday separately rejected a US Defence Secretary statement against the China’s “One Belt One Road” (OBOR) initiative which includes the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The duo called it a project of connectivity for the betterment of the people in the region and beyond.

Earlier this week, US Defence Secretary James Mattis had appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee and claimed that OBOR passed through a disputed territory, in an apparent reference to Gilgit-Balitistan.

Responding to Mattis’ statement, the Foreign Office on Friday urged the international community to focus on the human rights violations and the heinous crimes committed by Indian occupation forces in the Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK).

“As for the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, efforts need to be made to implement the UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu & Kashmir that call for a UN supervised plebiscite to enable Kashmiris to exercise their right to self-determination,” the statement added.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry also issued a statement, saying its ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative is backed by the United Nations and that the CPEC is an economic cooperation initiative.

“We have repeatedly reiterated that the CPEC … is not directed against third parties and has nothing to do with territorial sovereignty disputes and does not affect China’s principled stance on the Kashmir issue,” the statement said.

It said over 70 countries and international organisations, which have signed cooperation agreements with China on OBOR – including the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council – have also incorporated it in their important resolutions.

“Over 130 countries and more than 70 international organisations sent representatives to attend the international cooperation summit – ‘Belt and Road Forum’ – organised by China here in May and spoke highly of the initiative,” it said.

“This fully explains that OBOR initiative is in line with the trend of the times and conforms to the rules of development and is in line with the interests of the people of all countries and has broad and bright prospects for development,” it added.

The CPEC Parliamentary Committee Chairman Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed also rejected the US objections over OBOR in a series of tweets.

He reminded the US that Washington had also participated in an OBOR summit. He also told the US administration that former president Barack Obama had opposed the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank but had failed and more of this “short-nearsightedness” will result in failure too.

“Following the 1960 Indus Water Treaty, the US contractors had built Mangla Dam in Azad Kashmir. Why was there no reference to a ‘disputed territory’ back then,” he asked.