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CPEC not targeted at any third country: China

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From K J M Varma Beijing, Aug 29 (PTI) Asserting that its ambitious USD 46billion economic corridor is not targeted at any thirdcountry, China today said it will work with Pakistan to ensure"smooth running" of the strategic project. "The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a newcooperation framework set up by the two countries for thefuture development of bilateral cooperation across the board.Not targeted at any third country," Chinese Foreign Ministryspokesperson Hua Chunying said. Skirting the question about Prime Minister NarendraModi’s remarks on Balochistan’s troubled human rightssituation, Hua declined to comment on one of China’s prominentofficial think tanks warning that China and Pakistan willinitiate "joint steps" if any "Indian factor" is found todisrupt the CPEC. "I don’t want to comment on remarks of some scholars,"she said. She also skirted response to the questions about Indiaand the US expressing concerns over the human rightsviolations in Balochistan, the troubled Pakistani provincethrough which the economic corridor would pass connectingChina’s Muslim-majority Xinjiang province to Gwadar port. But at the same time she said China will work withPakistan for smooth running of the CPEC. "The corridor is conducive to promoting regionalconnectivity as well as peace, stability and development.China is willing to work alongside Pakistan to ensure thesmooth running of the corridor," she said. While China is maintaining official silence on ModiÂ’sremarks on Balochistan during the Independence Day speech, ithowever riled the official Chinese strategic think tanks whowere vocal in asserting that China will resort joint actionwith Pakistan against India for any disruption to the CPEC. "My personal view is that if India is adamant and ifIndian factor is found by China or Pakistan in disrupting theprocess of CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor), if thatbecomes a reality, it will really become a disturbance toChina-India relations, India-Pakistan relations," South Asiaexpert Hu Shisheng said yesterday. Besides a host of energy-related projects, the CPECconsists of rail, road and pipelines to ferry oil and gas fromGwadar port to Kashghar in Xinjiang through Pakistan-occupiedKashmir (PoK). PTI KJVZH

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