Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain has hailed China's Belt and Road Initiative as a "global revolutionary movement" and said its USD 50 billion flagship project – the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor – is reaching fruition.
Hussain, who will represent Pakistan at the two-day Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Qingdao beginning tomorrow, said Pakistan and China are all-weather and time-tested friends.
"Successive generations of the leaders in both the countries have worked hard to strengthen this relationship … Pakistan supports China on all its core issues," he said.
The BRI and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative, proposed by China in 2013, is aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes.
"The BRI is a revolutionary global movement connecting over 60 countries with generational impact," Hussain was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.
"It is a win-win partnership that is already catalysing growth and integrating economies all across Eurasia, the Middle East and Africa. Pakistan is a strong believer and an ardent supporter of the BRI," he told Chinese official media ahead of his visit.
He expected that the SCO can be a vehicle for the BRI as all SCO countries are connected through the ancient Silk Route. He said that the USD 50 billion a flagship of project of the CPEC is fast reaching fruition.
"It entails greater connectivity and trade linkages between Pakistan and China through a network of road, rail, fibre optic cable, energy pipelines and power generation projects," he said.
India has protested to China over the CPEC as it is being laid through Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK).
India did not endorse the BRI at SCO Foreign Ministers meeting held here on April 24 while the rest of the eight-member bloc backed it.
Hussain said Pakistan is already reaping benefits from CPEC.
"Many infrastructure and other projects are fast approaching completion. Gwadar port has become operational. Many projects of social welfare have also been completed in Gwadar," he said.
On the SCO summit, Hussain said Pakistan sees SCO as an important framework for regional cooperation and it has played a vital role in safeguarding peace and security in the region.
Pakistan, as a new member of the SCO since 2017, is "committed to enhancing our relations with all SCO members on the basis of these values," he added.
Pakistan along with India was admitted into the grouping last year. This is the first summit of the organisation after the admission of India and Pakistan last year.
The SCO members include China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.