China to support Pakistan's debt relief initiative at G20

The generous donations by China for Pakistan to contain coronavirus were greatly appreciated, says FM Qureshi

Kamran Yousaf April 15, 2020
Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that his country will support Prime Minister Imran Khan’s global initiative at the G-20 as well as other relevant fora as Pakistan continued its diplomatic outreach to powerful countries which can play a role in much-needed debt relief while battling the novel coronavirus.

According to an official statement, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday held a telephonic conversation with Wang Yi to seek China’s support for the premier's recently launched "global initiative for debt relief".

The impact on the developing countries would be most severe in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak. Keeping this in view, Prime Minister Imran Khan a few days ago had appealed to the world community to work for providing debt relief to the developing countries.

Chinese Foreign Minister thanked Qureshi for reaching out to China and appreciated Pakistan’s thoughtful and timely gesture.

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The state councillor underlined that the global pandemic posed a great danger to the world's economy and stability as "coordinated and equitable efforts are needed to deal with its aftermath".

Wang Yi said that during President Dr Arif Alvi’s recent visit to China, Pakistani and Chinese leaders had reached a consensus to jointly fight the outbreak.

"Beijing was thankful to Pakistan for the support it extended to China in battling Covid-19 and now Chinese people and government were extending support to Pakistan to help it contain the pandemic."

FM Qureshi said that the highly contagious disease has a devastating impact on the global economy and its aftermath is far more severe than the Great Depression.

The conversation with the Chinese foreign minister was part of Pakistan's diplomatic outreach to powerful countries which can play a role in debt relief.

The country's total external debt stands around $105 billion. Officials say Pakistan is seeking a role over of half of its $28 billion external debt that is maturing in next three years.

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Pakistan was given major debt relief in 2001 when western countries including the United States suspended around $11 billion debt for 15 years. That decision was meant to acknowledge Pakistan's role in the fight against terror after 9/11 attacks.

This time if any decision regarding debt relief is taken that would not be country-specific.

The foreign minister underscored that Pakistan and China are "all-weather strategic cooperative partners" and have preserved the fine tradition of solidarity, mutual assistance and mutual support.

He thanked the government and people of China for extending solidarity and moral and material support to Pakistan in the wake of the outbreak of contagion.

Qureshi also said that generous donations and assistance sent by China, for Pakistan, to contain coronavirus were greatly appreciated by Pakistan and its people.

He expressed delight that lockdown from Wuhan had been lifted and normalcy resumed in Wuhan and Hubei province.

The foreign minister also thanked China for sending a team of medical experts to Pakistan to help fight the pandemic.

The Chinese medical team, he added, had strengthened Pakistan’s capacity to control Covid-19 through sharing their experience and "expertise with our medical community".