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Pak PM to visit China next week to sign new 'begging' pacts

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit China next week to meet its leaders and deliver a keynote speech at the vast Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, as risk of an economic collapse becomes imminent at home.

China has pledged about $60 billion in infrastructure loans to Pakistan, touted as a success story of its Belt and Road initiative, which aims to build road and maritime trading routes across the globe. Apart from Pakistan's global payment obligations, it now owes more than $55-bn in CPEC loans to China.

Pakistan's economy has hit serious turbulence over the past year and Islamabad is now finalizing a bailout package with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stave off a balance of payments crisis, despite more than $10 billion in short-term loans from allies such as China, U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia.

Imran Khan will hold bilateral meetings with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang for more financial support. The two countries will sign several pacts to enhance cooperation, and Khan will meet Chinese corporate and business leaders.

Khan's visit is very important as his country faces a deepening economic crisis, with a ballooning current account deficit and fast-depleting foreign reserves. Pakistan has tried to avoid an IMF bailout but the economic crisis is so deep that it will have to agree to all terms set by the IMF to save the country from a payment default.

Pakistan tried to avoid an IMF bailout by securing loans from friendly countries but economic realities have changed for Imran Khan.

The long-delayed rescue package would be Islamic Pakistan's 13th IMF bailout program since the late 1980s.

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