China today said the global lender IMF should “objectively and professionally” evaluate its planned investments in Pakistan to ensure that any financial package does not affect close ties between Beijing and Islamabad.
Cash-strapped Pakistan has approached the International Monetary Fund or IMF for a bailout, and has agreed to share the details of huge Chinese loans obtained for the CPEC project.
Pakistan’s Finance Minister Asad Umar told reporters on Sunday that Islamabad is ready to share details of the debt related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC with the IMF as he formally sought a bailout package from the international lender.
Reacting to the move by its all-weather ally Pakistan to approach the IMF for the bailout package, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said, “As a member of the IMF, China supports the organisation having cooperation with Pakistan in objectively and professionally evaluating the situation on the ground in Pakistan.”
“Also, we support the IMF (helping Pakistan) in coping with the current difficulties. Their measures shall not affect normal bilateral cooperation between China and Pakistan,” he said, adding the CPEC projects have been undertaken by the two governments under the principle of “consultation and contribution for shared benefits”.
Mr Umar landed in Islamabad on Sunday after meeting IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in Indonesia for a bailout package for Pakistan. He said the decision to approach the global lender was taken after consultations with friendly countries.
An IMF team is scheduled to arrive in Pakistan on November 7 to negotiate the programme, likely to cover a period of three years, Mr Umar said.
The Chinese official said that judging from the debt structure already released by the Pakistani government, their debt incurred from the CPEC is not high. “So, it is not the reason for Pakistan’s financial difficulties,” he said.
After the new Pakistan government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan took over, China has agreed to extend the CPEC projects to Balochistan province to address criticism that only the dominant Punjab province has grabbed most Chinese investments.
India has also protested to China over CPEC as it traverses through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir or PoK.