China needs to address regional concerns over CPEC, says scholar
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.