China needs to ad­dress re­gional con­cerns over CPEC, says scholar

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - WORLD - Su­tirtho Pa­tra­nobis

Bei­jing should take into ac­count re­gional con­cerns in im­ple­ment­ing transna­tional projects like the China-pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CPEC), a top Com­mu­nist party scholar has said, adding if nec­es­sary such projects could be tem­po­rar­ily stopped to sort out dif­fer­ences.

The Kash­gar to Gwadar CPEC is one of the flag­ship projects un­der Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive (BRI). India has re­peat­edly raised its con­cerns on the project with China as some projects in the CPEC are planned in Pak­istan Oc­cu­pied Kash­mir (POK).

“Any transna­tional projects in­volve con­cerns of dif­fer­ent coun­tries. We need to co­or­di­nate that to strike a bal­ance to be ac­cept­able to all par­ties. If we can't reach that bal­ance, maybe we can stop it for some time,” Zhang Yun­ling, an in­flu­en­tial aca­demic who is mem­ber of the pre­sid­ium of the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences (CASS), an of­fi­cial think-tank, said in Bei­jing.

“Even in the case of nav­i­ga­tion routes on Mekong river for ex­am­ple, many prob­lems emerged. We have to dis­cuss them one by one. We need to learn lessons. Some­times, the lessons maybe too big; we may have to stop (the projects),” Zhang said when asked about the CPEC pass­ing through POK re­gion.

“It can­not al­ways be rosy. Any transna­tional project in­volves con­cerns of dif­fer­ent coun­tries. We need to co­or­di­nate and strike a bal­ance to be ac­cept­able to all par­ties,” he said.

“If can­not reach that bal­ance maybe (the project) can stop it for some time. Any transna­tional project in­volves that com­plex­ity,” he added.

Zhang was brief­ing the press on the up­com­ing Belt and Road Fo­rum (BRF) to be held in the mid­dle of May in Bei­jing, which is to be at­tended by nearly 30 heads of state.

China is un­likely to stop the mul­ti­ple projects un­der way un­der the CPEC but the se­nior scholar’s com­ments in­di­cate that the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment was analysing con­cerns – in­clud­ing India’s – raised by coun­tries on cer­tain as­pects of BRI.

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