China willing to provide ‘all kinds of assistance’, envoy assures Dar


ISLAMABAD: In response to Pakistan’s request for approximately $8.75 billion in an additional financial package that includes the rollover of debt, bank deposits, and currency swaps, China provided Pakistan with assurances on Wednesday that it is prepared to assist Islamabad in any way it can.

The finance ministry said in a statement that Nong Rong, the Chinese ambassador in Islamabad, called Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Wednesday and “assured continuous support of the Chinese government to Pakistan.”

The statement added that China’s “government stands with the people of Pakistan and is willing to provide all kinds of assistance.”

During Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to Beijing last month, Mr. Dar told reporters that Pakistan had requested $9 billion in additional financial assistance from China. He also said that the Chinese leadership had promised to “roll over $4 billion in sovereign loans, refinance $3.3 billion in commercial bank loans, and increase currency swap by about $1.45 billion — from 30 billion yuan to 40 billion yuan.” The sum came out to $8.75 billion.

Pakistan needs at least $34 billion to meet its international obligations, including debt and trade payments, by June 30, 2023. Pakistan is betting on about $13bn in extra help from China and Saudi Arabia.

According to the statement, Mr. Dar “thanked the Chinese ambassador for their continuous support and assistance” and praised the enduring and deeply rooted friendship between the two nations.

Several options for expanding bilateral relations, particularly in the financial and economic sectors, were discussed by both sides. The ambassador appreciated the government’s efforts to maintain and improve monetary and fiscal stability.

Mr. Dar had previously stated that the Chinese president and prime minister had pledged to support Pakistan and “will not let you down” to Prime Minister Sharif.

The refinancing of $3 billion in China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) deposit and a debt rollover of approximately $3.3 billion were then independently pursued by him. Before June 30, these two heads will reach maturity on distinct dates.

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