The Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) held a joint roundtable briefing with China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) on the subject of “New Geopolitics and the Region”. Imtiaz Gul, the head of CRSS and Hu Shisheng, director of CICIR, were the main speakers of the event. Among the other speakers were former Federal Finance Secretary Waqar Masood, Ambassador Mian Sanaullah, Ambassador Qazi Hamyun, Economist Syed Husaini, and Engineer Arshad Abbasi.
Hu Shisheng shared his thoughts on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the policies of the new American President Donald J. Trump. He said that CPEC was not only a mega project but the pilot-project of China’s “One Belt One Road” (OBOR) initiative. Given the massive nature of the project, Pakistan and China should expect that challenges will also be enormous. CPEC is very important for China and it would never like it to fail as some countries may wish so. He said one basic goal of China is to help its ‘all-weather’ friend Pakistan stand economically on its own footing. The pre-CPEC relations between the two countries were military and political in nature. Mr. Shisheng observed that as China was suffering economic overcapacity, it was compelled to export part of industrial capacities to countries like Pakistan. Industrial zones under CPEC are supposed to play crucial role in the respect. He noted that as the guiding principle of China’s OBOR initiative was inclusiveness, CPEC can be connected to Iran’s Chabahar port. This policy of China stands in contrast to the India’s approach of excluding and isolating Pakistan from regional initiatives and platforms.
The other speakers spoke at length about the newer challenges to CPEC, the QUC, water issues, and Trump’s global impact. The details of these speakers are shared in the main post on the CRSS website (www.crss.pk)