China denies UN report on CPEC

Beijing: China on Thursday was evasive about a UN report stating that the CPEC could fuel tensions between India and Pakistan, denying there was any “specific” document.

“As far as I have learned, the ESCAP (the Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific) did not issue any specific report on the Belt and Road initiative,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at a press conference.

“Indian media is reporting on this, but we have not seen the full text of the report but I can give you some response in general and principle,” Lu said.

A report, released by a UN body on Tuesday, said the over $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which passes through Pakistan-administered Kashmir, “might create geo-political tension with India and ignite further political instability”.

India lays claim to Pakistan-administered Kashmir and has opposed the economic corridor passing through the region, a key artery of China’s Belt and Road project.

“The dispute over Kashmir is also of concern since the crossing of the (CPEC) in the region might create geopolitical tension with India and ignite further political instability,” the Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific (ESCAP), a UN body said.

Lu, however, said that all parties in the just-concluded meet of ESCAP “spoke highly of the Belt and Road initiative in promoting development in Asia and the Pacific”.

He reiterated Beijing’s stance that CPEC will not affect its stance on the Kashmir dispute between Indian and Pakistan.

“As far as the CPEC passes through the controversial territory, I have said this many times that it is an economic initiative and it will not affect our position on the Kashmir issue.”

The CPEC has become a sore point between India and China. New Delhi made it quite evident when it did not attend China’s Belt and Road summit this month in opposition to the CPEC.