Pakistan said on Friday that Saudi Arabia was set to join, with Beijing’s assent, the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project as its third major economic partner, a move apparently aimed at rescuing the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government from the perilous economic condition faced by the country.
“China has been taken into confidence over Saudi Arabia’s joining the CPEC project as a strategic partner (sic),” Pakistan’s information minister Fawad Chaudhry said, responding to a tweet by former interior, planning and development minister Ahsan Iqbal, who asked whether Beijing had been taken on board before formally inviting Riyadh to join the mega venture.
“Has China been taken into confidence? CPEC is a bilateral project in which induction of any other country has to have the concurrence of both sides,” Iqbal wrote. “Chinese assent had been sought and the expansion of CPEC is in China and Pakistan’s interest,” Chaudhry replied.
The announcement about Riyadh joining the CPEC was made a day earlier with Chaudhry claiming that the kingdom had agreed in principle to invest heavily in Pakistan after being formally invited to join the project.
“A high-level coordination committee has been constituted and it has the complete backing of the Saudi king, His Highness Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, as well as Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and PM Imran Khan,” Chaudhry, who was part of Khan’s entourage, said on Thursday.
“A high-level Saudi delegation comprising ministers for finance and energy as well as business heads will visit Pakistan in the first week of October to work out the details of a grand economic partnership,” he said, adding that investments from Riyadh were expected.
Source : TOI