Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping has told Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa that those who oppose his pet projects - the BRI and the CPEC - will "never succeed" as these are initiatives aimed at fostering peace and development.
The USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the flagship project of the multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a pet project of President Xi aimed at enhancing China's influence around the world through China-funded infrastructure projects.
India has opposed the CPEC project and protested to China as it is being laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
General Bajwa, who is in China, called on Xi after his meetings with the top Chinese military officials.
"While we work for peace, we need to stay strong to thwart designs of all inimical forces challenging our resolve. We greatly value Chinese support...," Bajwa said.
He met Xi on a special invitation and they discussed regional security environment, challenges and way forward, Pakistan military's media wing Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.
"Those who oppose the BRI or the CPEC shall never succeed as this is an initiative of peace and development not only for China but for region and beyond," it quoted Xi as saying.
Terming Pakistan as "our time-tested iron friend", he said the country had a pivotal role towards this lasting relationship.
He acknowledged the role of the Pakistan armed forces towards regional peace and stability.
President Xi said that China shall continue to support Pakistan as a strategic partner.
Bajwa said that Pakistan understands the importance of peace and has given lot of sacrifices for achieving it.
He said the BRI, with the CPEC as its flagship project, is destined to succeed despite all odds and the Pakistan Army shall ensure security of the CPEC at all costs, the statement said.
Earlier, Bajwa in his meeting with top military official General Zhang Youxia assured him that the new government, like the Pakistani military, follows a consistent policy of pragmatic cooperation with China.
General Zhang is the highest military official as he is the vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission (CMC) which is the high command of the two-million-strong People's Liberation Army (PLA) headed by President Xi.
"The Pakistani military and its new government are consistent in their policy towards China," Bajwa told Zhang during their meeting here on Tuesday, a Chinese Defence Ministry press release quoted him as saying.
His assurance about the new government besides the Pakistan military following a "consistent policy" towards China comes in the backdrop of reports of differences over the USD 50 billion CPEC.
Projects of the CPEC, regarded as the flagship initiative in Xi's multi-billion-dollar BRI, figured high during Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's talks with new Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad last month.
Pakistan is willing to continue to strengthen pragmatic cooperation with China in the areas of counter-terrorism, equipment technology, and personnel training to ensure the safe and smooth development of CPEC, Bajwa said....