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China set to give $6 bn in aid to Pak as PM Imran Khan meets President Xi: Report

China set to give $6 bn in aid to Pak as PM Imran Khan meets President Xi: Report

Beijing: China on Friday reportedly agreed to provide USD 6 billion in aid to Pakistan, which is going through a "low point", to minimise the cash-strapped country's dependence on an IMF bailout package as Prime Minister Imran Khan held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Khan, who is here on his maiden visit, met Xi in the Great Hall of People where the two leaders also held one-on-one meeting besides delegation-level talks, Pakistani media reports said.

Pakistan is expected to receive USD 6 billion economic package from China during the visit, Geo TV quoted sources as saying.

A loan of USD 1.5 billion is also expected to be offered, along with an additional package of USD three billion for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the report said.

The loan and the investments were reportedly part of the USD 6 billion package. However, there was no immediate official comment from Beijing on the report.

In his meeting with Xi, Khan, the cricketer-turned-politician, said: "my party (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf) has only been in power for two months. Unfortunately, we have inherited a very difficult economic situation.

"Countries go in cycles. They have their high points, they have their low points. Unfortunately, our country is going through a low point at the moment with two very big deficits, a fiscal deficit and a current account deficit. And so we, as I've said, have come to learn".

Xi assured Khan that China considers its relations with Pakistan a diplomatic priority.

"China has always supported Pakistan's safeguarding of national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the new Pakistani government's smooth running of the government and advancement of national construction," he said.

Xi told Khan that he highly valued the two country's relations, reaffirming they were "all-weather" friends.

Earlier Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, told Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a separate meeting that China would not let Pakistan down.

"The Chinese side will continue to provide support and help to the best of its ability for Pakistan's economic and social development and national construction," China's Foreign Ministry cited Wang as saying.

China's expected assistance is the second USD 6 billion package which Khan has managed to obtain in the last few weeks as Pakistan reeled under severe financial crisis.

During his visit to Saudi Arabia last month, Riyadh committed USD 6 billion funding which included USD 3 billion deferred payment for oil imports.

Finance Minister Asad Umar, who is accompanying Khan, earlier told media in Islamabad that Pakistan's strategy was to seek loans from multiple sources instead of asking the International Monetary Fund (IMF) alone to plug the entire gap in the country's financing needs.

He said Pakistan faced a deficit of USD 27 billion which included USD 9 billion debt repayment this year. PTI

K J M Varma

K J M Varma

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