Robert HARNEIS -TDO- (FRANCE)- Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed his ministers to set goals for schemes and ensure inter-governmental coordination for the early conclusion of phase two of the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)project after the successful completion of CPEC’s phase one.The $60 billion CPEC is a key project of Beijing's Belt and Road initiative that aims to connect Asia, Africa and Europe
"The projects should be finalized on the basis of socioeconomic development and be completed at the earliest," An Express Tribune quoted Khan as saying while chairing a high-level meeting held to review the progress on various projects under CPEC.
The premier directed government officials to ensure early completion of the CPEC projects.
"At the same time, the consultation process for future projects should also be completed on a priority basis," he added.
Khan also told the CPEC Authority to expedite the implementation process of various projects under phase three.
"China has helped Pakistan in difficult times. CPEC is a manifestation of multilateral Pakistan-China relations," he said, adding that that Beijing's experience in promoting social sector, alleviating poverty and boosting agriculture sector needed to be fully utilized.
Khan's remarks came after senior US diplomat Alice Wells during her visit to Islamabad last week once again urged Pakistan to rethink its wholeheartedly embrace of China's economic initiative.
Speaking at a think-tank in Islamabad, she alleged that there was no transparency in the CPEC projects, and warned that the country's debt burden was growing due to the Chinese financing.
Both Chinese and Pakistani officials have rejected the US criticism.
The $60 billion CPEC is a key project of Beijing's Belt and Road initiative that aims to connect Asia, Africa and Europe through a vast network of highways, rail lines and sea lanes.
The multi-billion dollar corridor connects the Chinese city of Kashgar with Pakistan's Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea and enables China to avoid relying entirely on the Straits of Malacca, which could easily be the subject of a US naval blockade.