China Watch [April 6-10] – UK Interested in CPEC

Highlights:

UK’s Minister of State for International Trade, Greg Hands has indicated the interest of his country in the multi-billion dollars project of CPEC. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has approved the formation of security contingent of 4,200 personnels for the protection of CPEC-related entities in the province. China and Pakistan have vowed to push forward the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries. KP Chief Minster Pervez Khattak has said that his government was “geared up to take the new role effectively” under the CPEC. Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal has said that nine industrial zones were being developed under the CPEC. Qaumi Watan Party Chairman Aftan Ahmad Khan Sherpao has warned the federal government that if KP was not given proper share in the CPEC, the project will be of no use for Pakhtuns.

UK Interested in CPEC:

UK’s Minister of State for International Trade, Greg Hands has indicated the interest of his country in the multi-billion dollars project of CPEC. He said that “Britain is a country of global influence and can be an important partner for China and Pakistan in the delivery of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which has the potential to build closer links between our countries.”[i] Mr. Greg expressed his views while addressing a business roundtable on “UK’s participation in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor”, organised by the Department of International Trade at Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London. Last year, Britain Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson had urged the “UK firms to participate in the construction” of CPEC. UK’s participation in the project can have some major outcomes. For Pakistan, it can bring investment and expertise of a highly developed economy. However, the neighbouring India will have big issue with such development as UK’s participation will seriously affect the former’s territorial claims and strategic apprehensions against the CPEC.

 

KP’s Security Plan for CPEC:

KP government has approved the formation of security contingent of 4,200 personnels for the protection of CPEC and the Chinese nationals working on the project at the cost of Rs1.2 billion.[ii] The main task of the force will be ensuring the security of the CPEC routes and projects, Chinese investment and national throughout the province. Additionally, a separate cell will be established to monitor the security of the CPEC on daily basis. KP government’s decision came after the Punjab and Balochistan governments had already formed security bodies for the security of the CPEC. Formation of this force is all the more important in KP as the province sits beside the Federally Administered Tribal Areas that have been the centre of long drawn war against militancy. In addition to provincial security arrangements, the federal government has already been working on the formation of Special Security Division – comprising 15,000 troops – for CPEC security. These kind of security measures are crucial for earning the confidence of foreign investors that Pakistan is secure enough for investment and doing business.

 

All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership:

China and Pakistan have vowed to push forward the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries.[iii] The pledge came during a meeting between China’s top political advisor, Yu Zhengsheng and Pakistani President, Mammon Hussain. Mr Yu, Chairman of National Committee of Chinese Peoples’ Political Consultative Conference, visited Pakistan with a high level-delegation to discuss the different aspects of cooperation between the two countries. In addition, the Chinese delegation also met the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani. Mr. Rabbani while acknowledging the importance of Pak-China friendship, emphasised that the two countries should enhance parliamentary linkages.[iv] At time when the work on CPEC is in full-swing, cooperation at government level between the two countries have reached a new peak. However, it has to be seen how the public perceptions in Pakistan will be affected by the post-CPEC conditions and affairs.

 

 

Miscellaneous:

KP Chief Minster Pervez Khattak has said that his government was “geared up to take the new role effectively” under the CPEC.[v] Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal has said that nine industrial zones were being developed under CPEC.[vi] Qaumi Watan Party Chairman Aftan Ahmad Khan Sherpao has warned the federal government that if KP was not given proper share in the CPEC, the project will be of no use for Pakhtuns.[vii]           

 

 

This report is compiled and written by Abdur Rehman Shah, Research Associate at the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), Islamabad.

[i] Shah, Murtaza ali. (2017, April 5). CPEC conference: UK desires to increase trade with China, Pakistan. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from https://www.geo.tv/latest/136928-CPEC-conference-UK-desires-to-increase-trade-with-China-Pakistan

[ii] Bureu Report. (2017, April 6). KP to form force to protect CPEC projects in its area. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from https://www.dawn.com/news/1325210/kp-to-form-force-to-protect-cpec-projects-in-its-area

[iii] Xinhua, (2017, April 6). China, Pakistan pledge to push forward all-weather strategic cooperative partnership partnership. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-04/06/c_136188082.htm

[iv] Junaidi, Ikram. (2017, April 6). Need to boost parliamentary linkages with China stressed. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from https://www.dawn.com/news/1325229/need-to-boost-parliamentary-linkages-with-china-stressed

[v] Saeed, Tariq. (2017, April 5). KP geared up too take new role under CPEC: Khattak. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://pakobserver.net/kp-geared-up-to-take-new-role-under-cpec-khattak/

[vi] Wakeel, Nasir. (2017, April 6). Nine industrial zones being built under CPEC: Ahsan. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://aaj.tv/2017/04/nine-industrial-zones-being-built-under-cpec-ahsan/

[vii] Bacha, Ali Hazrat. (2017, April 8). Centre asked to give KP its due share in CPEC, resources. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from https://www.dawn.com/news/1325542/centre-asked-to-give-kp-its-due-share-in-cpec-resources

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