BEIJING: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Sunday said the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) under the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, was open to all countries in the region and categorically said the project “must not be politicized.”
“Let me make it very clear that CPEC is an economic undertaking open to all countries in the region. It has no geographical boundaries. It must not be politicized,” the Prime Minister said in his address at the plenary session of High-level Dialogue on Belt and Road Forum (BRF), themed “Cooperation for Common Prosperity,” being held in China’s capital.
The Prime Minister called for building a peaceful, connected and caring neighbourhood by shunning mutual differences.
“It is time we transcend our differences, resolve conflicts through dialogue and diplomacy, and leave a legacy of peace for future generations,” he said at the BRF platform, with 29 heads of states and governments and 1,500 delegates in attendance.
The Prime Minister said peace and development go hand in hand, and nothing can pave the path for peace and security more than economic development achieved through regional collaboration.
“The OBOR signifies that geo-economics must take precedence over geo-politics, and that the centre of gravity should shift from conflict to cooperation,” he said.
The Prime Minister said OBOR could be regarded as a “powerful tool for overcoming terrorism and extremism.”
“As OBOR is unfolding across continents, it is fostering inclusion, creating tolerance, and promoting acceptance of cultural diversity,” he said.
The Prime Minister said CPEC was a core project of OBOR and had rightly been called its flagship for aiming to connect the neighbourhoods of East and West Asia.
He said CPEC made Pakistan both a conduit and destination for cross-regional investment and trade.
Terming ‘China as Pakistan’s close friend and trusted ally’, Nawaz Sharif said his participation at the Forum was to celebrate the remarkable success of the seminal initiative of ‘One Belt, One Road (OBOR)’.
He expressed confidence that the historic event would build critical pathways in the years to come for economic and financial cooperation, business-to-business collaboration, and people-to-people contacts.
He paid President Xi and the Chinese leadership his deepest tributes for their dynamic and creative leadership and said Pakistan admired China’s vision and ingenuity in developing corridors across regions.