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China supports Pakistan! Beijing dumps ‘false’ report, says Islamabad did not ask for more loans for CPEC

China on Wednesday rejected as “totally false” a report about Islamabad approaching Beijing for more loans to keep the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) going.

According to a Financial Times’ report, Pakistan told China to give it more loans to keep the CPEC alive, the mainstay project of Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road connectivity initiative. It also said Pakistan borrowed some $4 billion from China in the year ending June 2018.

Reacting to the news, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying called it “totally false”.

“In fact, Pakistani Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar made a clarification on this matter, stressing that Pakistan will continue with CPEC construction,” Hua said.

Beijing has invested over $50 billion in the CPEC, which will connect China’s Xinjiang region with Pakistan’s Gwadar port giving it access to the Arabian Sea.

While India opposes CPEC’s route as it cuts through the disputed Kashmir held by Islamabad, experts feel Pakistan is already facing a massive debt burden because of the project.

“We noted the shortage of foreign reserves in Pakistan and we believe it will try to maintain steady economic development against all odds,” Hua said when asked about the ballooning debt of the South Asian country.

“In recent times, CPEC has played a positive role in helping Pakistan achieve high economic development supported by the government and people. We believe this will not be interrupted by other factors.”

According to some media reports, China has so far given an estimated loan of $5 billion to Pakistan to help temporarily stabilize reserve.

For the last few months, Pakistan’s economy has come under pressure and foreign exchange reserves are declining due to flared current account deficit. Pakistan has received foreign loans more than $44 billion during the last five years.

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