Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping here amid reports that Beijing was likely to give $6 billion economic aid to Islamabad to manage its financial crisis.
There was no official version from either side about what transpired at the meet, but a report by Pakistan’s Geo TV said that Beijing was expected to give $6 billion in economic aid to Islamabad.
A loan of $1.5 billion was also expected to be offered, along with an additional package of $3 billion for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the report added.
Pakistan is in excessive foreign debt and to stave-off the crisis it has already secured $6 billion from Saudi Arabia and reached out to the International Monetary Fund for the bailout.
Beijing is wary of the US-dominated International Monetary Fund that has sought from Islamabad the financial details of the CPEC. This might prompt Beijing into issuing more loans to its “all-weather ally” Islamabad.
Khan also met Chinese-Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank chief Jin Liqun. His four-day visit comes at a time when Islamabad has shown misgivings about Beijing’s connectivity project, the CPEC.
The new government under Khan has expressed concern over the Chinese debt under the $60 billion CPEC, a key project of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative.
In fact, it slashed the budget for a railway project under the CPEC from $8.2 billion to $6.2 billion, citing Islamabad’s financial constraints.
Khan’s invitation to Saudi Arabia to join the Chinese-funded CPEC, which he retracted later, would have irked Beijing. Saudi Arabia is a US ally and enemy of Iran, the largest exporter of oil to China.