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Pakistan not requested for 'debt swap' with China, says Bilawal

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Islamabad | September 30, 2022 8:29:08 PM IST
Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Thursday denied requesting any debt restructuring owed to China, despite the flood situation in the country.

Commenting on US Secretary Antony Blinken's statement regarding seeking debt relief from China, Zardari said that so far, Islamabad had not made any request for debt-restructuring, deferment or swap and hoped that it will not become a victim of geopolitics, Dawn reported.

"If we have a conversation with China, it should be between Pakistan and China alone, no one else needs to interfere. Engagement with China should continue. Whenever we have this conversation, it will be between us and China. I hope that it does not become a victim of geopolitics," the minister said during the interview with Foreign policy, a US-based magazine.

Dodging the question of China's cold response to Pakistan's flood and Sri Lanka's economic crisis, Bilawal Zardari said that whatever Beijing does with Islamabad or Colombo, it is completely their choice.

"Just like it's 100 per cent America's decision in either of these circumstances," he said in an interview as quoted by Dawn.

Bilawal went on to say: "Rather than being a point of competition or a venue for these divisions (between China and the US) to be exacerbated, I would like Pakistan to continue to play a role that we have in the past. Pakistan originally played a bridge between China and the US, resulting in diplomatic relations between the two countries."

"And right now, particularly when we're drowning in floods, I don't want to play any part in exacerbating any tensions or being a geopolitical football," Dawn.com reported on Thursday.

"In this time of great geopolitical division, I would much rather play the role of a bridge by uniting these two great powers around working together for climate change."

The foreign minister hoped that "perhaps, Pakistan's unique position as a friend of both the US and China could encourage cooperation on this front".

Earlier, On Monday, US State Secretary Antony Blinken had called on Pakistan to seek debt relief from China while reiterating Washington's support to Islamabad in these challenging times.

The remarks had drawn a censorious response from China, whose foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin had called out the US for "passing unwarranted criticism against Pakistan-China cooperation" and urged it to do something "real and beneficial" for the people of Pakistan, reported Dawn. (ANI)

 
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