Staff Report ISLAMABAD: Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong on Wednesday said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project has made huge progress in the outgoing year despite challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. “We are very pleased to see that Prime Minister Imran Khan attaches great importance to the CPEC. He chaired a series of meetings on CPEC, including the one for industry development, and held two seminars with Chinese entrepreneurs. Pakistan government established the China-Pakistan Relations Steering Committee to coordinate and resolve CPEC issues; introduced the special visa policy for CPEC to facilitate investment; set up a Foreign National Security Cell to strengthen security measures. These practical measures have injected more confidence in the development of the CPEC,” Ambassador Nong Rong said while addressing an award ceremony for outstanding Pakistani staff of the CPEC projects, held at the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad. Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on CPEC Affairs Khalid Mansoor, Director General of Department of International Affairs of NDRC of China Ying Xiong and Chairman of All Pakistan Chinese Enterprises Association Yang Jianduo attended the ceremony. A number of officials, Pakistan staff of CPEC projects and journalists attended the ceremony virtually. The ambassador said with joint efforts, the Rashakai Special Economic Zone has been launched, the north part of the Gwadar Free Zone is under construction, the Matiari-Lahore HVDC Transmission Line has brought Pakistan into a new era of AC-DC hybrid power grid, the Karot Hydropower Project started water storage, the Gwadar Technical and Vocational Institute was completed. “These developments brought by the CPEC, from the perspective of individuals, will create more jobs, increase their incomes and improve their skills; from the perspective of the country, will boost Pakistan’s economic and social development, promote industrialization and urbanization, and enhance the connection of the nation and the region as a whole,” he added. The ambassador said the achievements of the CPEC are not possible without joint efforts of staff from both China and Pakistan. “They are not only the constructors and participants of the CPEC, but also the witnesses and promoters of history. In particular, the 27 outstanding Pakistani staff who participate in the award ceremony today, are outstanding representatives in this regard. You have shown your diligence and dedication in promoting the CPEC and building your motherland,” he said. The ambassador said the CPEC, as a landmark project of China-Pakistan cooperation in the new era, and a successful regional economic cooperation platform, provides a broad stage for people to display their talents and realize personal values. It is hoped that the Chinese and Pakistani staff will cherish the opportunity, contribute to the construction of the CPEC with practical actions, and continue to consolidate the iron friendship between China and Pakistan. Speaking on the occasion, Director General of Department of International Affairs of NDRC of China Ying Xiong said CPEC is a landmark project of the Belt and Road Initiative cooperation. “Since its initiation in 2013, China and Pakistan have joint hands to work together for 8 years, by following the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. Even in the face of the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CPEC projects still enjoy smooth operation,” he said. “There is no stop of the CPEC projects construction, no job cut for Pakistani staffs and no withdrawal of Chinese workforce. The CPEC construction has bucked the trend with continuous new achievements. In September this year, the 10th Joint Coordination Committee meeting of CPEC was successfully held. The anti-pandemic campaign by the CPEC brought with tangible achievements. New progress has been made in Gwadar Port development. Energy projects are now in normal and stable operation. Major progress has been made in transportation infrastructure cooperation. Cooperation in industries and other fields has been advancing rapidly. Agriculture as well as science and technology cooperation has been hedging forward steadily. Cooperation in society and people’s livelihood has progressed smoothly. International cooperation and coordination as well as security related issues have been implemented in an orderly manner. These fruitful achievements have once again demonstrated the unbreakable China-Pakistan friendship, and showed to the world the strong vitality and huge potential of the Belt and Road Initiative,” he added. The representatives of Pakistani staff from three projects also delivered speeches on the occasion.