China-Pakistan Economic Corridor cooperation faces hurdles in energy, infrastructure projects: Report

Business Thursday 28/September/2023 09:09 AM
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor cooperation faces hurdles in energy, infrastructure projects: Report

Islamabad: China has disagreed with further expansion in sectors of energy, water management, and climate change under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), highlighting the challenges faced by both countries, The Express Tribune reported.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has faced significant challenges, as indicated by the difficulties both parties have encountered in strengthening their economic ties.

Notably, Islamabad has yielded to certain Chinese demands and altered its stance on the establishment of a new coal-fired power plant in Gwadar. These changes, along with other issues, were documented in the signed minutes of the 11th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting for CPEC, which took place in October 2022 but saw the signing of its minutes in July 2023, highlighting prolonged disagreements.

The details reveal that China did not agree to several proposals put forth by Pakistan in areas such as energy, water management, climate change, and tourism in regions like Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), and coastal areas.

There were disparities between the draft shared with Beijing by Pakistan and the final minutes signed by both sides, with the latter version reflecting China's stance. The JCC serves as a crucial decision-making body for CPEC, as reported by The Express Tribune.

China's exclusion of cross-border tourism cooperation in G-B, K-P, as well as coastal tourism promotion, is evident in the final minutes. Furthermore, China did not embrace Pakistan's suggestions to incorporate Water Resources Management, Climate Change, and Urban Infrastructure Development within the CPEC framework, nor did it support the idea of establishing a new joint working group on water resources management and climate change.

In response, the Ministry of Planning emphasized that the signing of meeting minutes between two countries only occurs after a thorough consultation to ensure accuracy in reflecting agreements and understandings.

The details also indicate that China omitted the discussion of financial challenges faced by power companies from the final minutes. Text related to the financial closure of projects like the Azad Pattan hydropower project, Kohala power plant, and Thar Block 1 Shanghai Electric Co power plant was dropped.

Notably, Pakistan made significant concessions regarding the 300MW Gwadar Power Plant, which China wanted to advance as per the existing plan. Pakistan also committed to following consensus and addressing issues related to power rates and fuel procurement for CPEC projects, according to The Express Tribune.

China declined Pakistan's proposal for a 500kv transmission line from Hub to Gwadar and several other initiatives related to Thar coal, hydel power projects, coal gasification, and more. Additionally, certain projects and cooperation areas, like the South-North gas pipeline, strategic underground gas storage, seismic studies, metallic minerals exploration, and technology transfer, were not included in the final minutes.

The Ministry of Planning highlighted that the signing of the 11th JCC meeting minutes underscores the strong relationship between Pakistan and China and their commitment to achieving common goals, The Express Tribune reported.