China looks forward to 'jointly promote' CPEC with its new civilian chief

By Staff Reporter | The Express Tribune Aug 5, 2021

Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong on Wednesday congratulated newly-appointed Special Assistant to Prime Minister on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) affair Khalid Mansoor, saying that his country was looking forward to jointly promoting the mega project with high-quality development.

Mansoor was appointed SAPM on CPEC affair a day earlier, resulting in the resignation of chairman of CPEC Authority, Lt-Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa.

“[The] prime minister is pleased to appoint Khalid Mansoor as special assistant to the prime minister on CPEC affairs with immediate effect,” according to a notification issued by the PM Office. The appointment will be in an honorary capacity, it added.

Mansoor’s appointment symbolises with giving the control of CPEC back to the civilians, which appears in line with the strategy of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif who was against setting up the CPECA uthority.

"Congratulations to Mr Khalid Mansoor and looking forward to jointly promoting CPEC with high quality development," Nong Rong wrote on his official Twitter handle late Wednesday.

He also paid tribute to Bajwa for his contribution in advancing the multi-billion dollar project. "Our cooperation will be valued, friendship cherished, and efforts recognised," he added.

Bajwa has approval of the CPEC Authority Act and making Gwadar port operational to his credit. He tried to remove obstacles in implementation of the CPEC projects but did not get full cooperation from the line ministries that are directly responsible for execution of these schemes. Bajwa also enjoyed good relations with Chinese authorities.

The new appointment is also in line with the government’s strategy of ending a distinction between the CPEC and non-CPEC projects and dealing with all economic matters under one roof. Premier Imran has already set up Pak-China Relations Steering Committee, which had sealed the fate of the CPEC Authority as an independent body.

The Ministry of Planning issued a handout to welcome the appointment of Mansoor, suggesting that Umar was fully onboard on these changes.

“Mansoor brings with him over four decades of experience working with multiple organisations in energy, petrochemicals, and fertilizer industries,” the planning ministry said. He is expected to lead the second phase of CPEC which will focus on industrial cooperation, it added.

Mansoor has extensive experience of working with Chinese companies and has a deep understanding of joint ventures, project development and execution with Chinese partners, the ministry stated.

Mansoor is a well-known business leader and has served as the president of Overseas Chamber of Commerce of Industry (OICCI). He has also worked closely with international financial institutions, like the World Bank, IFC, MIGA, OPIC, ADB, DEG, OFID as well as Chinese financial institutions such as China Development Bank, China Exim Bank, ICBC, Sinosure etc, according to the planning ministry.

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