Pakistan’s Ambassador discusses Belt and Road Initiative
By Joseph Catanzaro
The Belt and Road initiative, proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013, is a new blueprint for fostering closer trade, investment and cultural ties across much of the world, using a patchwork of new infrastructure, diplomacy and trade deals.
More than 40 countries and organizations have now signed up to the Belt and Road initiative and infrastructure projects worth more than 60 billion US dollars are already underway.
But what do people from outside China think of it? Rediscovering China asked Masood Khalid, Pakistani Ambassador to China, for his views.
Khalid believes that over the next five years, more countries will sign up. He points out that already, up to 65 countries have confirmed their interest, and more are coming in.
This in itself is a clear manifestation of the success of this new initiative. And with the passage of time, he is confident that more countries will appreciate the initiative’s underlying spirit, which is cooperation, connectivity and inclusive development.
Talking about the potential benefits for his country in joining the initiative, the ambassador points out that Pakistan has a good geographical location, lying between two big neighbours.
With its links to Central Asia, Pakistan offers natural access for Chinese goods to the region. He describes the Belt and Road initiative as a trigger for development, which will help Pakistan boost its competitiveness.
He stresses that his country is thinking not only in terms of infrastructure development, but also in terms of trade connectivity. The changes the initiative brings will be comprehensive.
For one thing, it will enhance prosperity by boosting employment. The Belt and Road initiative, he says, isn’t just about big ticket infrastructure projects. It’s also about diplomacy, trade deals and above all, goodwill between different peoples.
Rediscovering China is a 30-minute feature programme offering in-depth reports on the major issues facing China today. It airs on Sunday at 10.30 a.m. BJT (02.30 GMT), with a rebroadcast at 11.30 p.m. (15.30 GMT), as well as on Monday at 8.30 a.m. (00.30 GMT) and Friday at 1.30 p.m. (05.30 GMT).