OBOR ‘greatest economic initiative’ of 21st century: Maleeha Lodhi

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NEW YORK: China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) project, of which China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a part,  will bring economic prosperity to all nations through regional connectivity, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi said on Monday.

“We in Pakistan view the Chinese initiative as the most important 21st-century enterprise,” she said in an interview with Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency.

Highlighting Pakistan’s geostrategic location at the intersection of the East and West, she said that Islamabad’s role as a partner with China is going to be especially important to promote regional connectivity.

“I have always said that regional connectivity is not just about connecting our countries, it is about connecting our people, it is about connecting hearts,” the Pakistani envoy remarked.

The people-to-people aspect of OBOR initiative is aimed at the welfare of all the people, not just about Pakistan and China, Maleeha said, adding that almost 100 countries are now participating in the project. She added that it has now become a global initiative aimed at the economic welfare of all the peoples and countries.

“We see this initiative to be also very important in helping to achieve the UN’s 2030 global development agenda,” the ambassador said.

About China’s role at the UN, Ambassador Lodhi said that its role was commensurate and consistent with the fact that it is now a global power. “China is not just an economic powerhouse of the world, but a major global power. Its diplomacy at the UN is very active, which ranges from peace and security to development, human rights and many other issues,” she said.

On every global issue, Ambassador Lodhi said China’s voice was heard loud and clear, pointing out it was always on the side of the developing countries as it considers itself a developing country too.

“Despite the fact that it has become a global economic powerhouse, it still regards itself as a developing country, and aligns its interests with countries like mine, Pakistan, a developing country,” Maleeha said.

“So, as a member of the developing countries – G77 plus China – we align our policies here at the UN on a range of development issues, particularly the achievement of the SDGs.  On that also, China has a very important voice and it has a very important role to play,” the ambassador said.