China helped us when we were right at 'rock bottom': Imran Khan

New York [USA]: China helped us "when we were right at the rock bottom", said Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday.

In conversation with Richard N. Haass, the President of the Council on Foreign Relations, Khan said that the situation which "we found ourselves in thirteen months ago when we came into power" was probably the worst economic situation. "So, China really helped us when we were right at the rock bottom. They helped up, supported our -- by giving us funds for our foreign exchange reserves -- very important at that time," he added.

The cricketer-turned-politician said that China had helped his country, along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to increase its federal reserves. "What China offers us right now is an opportunity," Khan said in response to how would Pakistan retain its sovereignty at the same time when the cash-strapped nation is 'allowing or inviting' China to do large-scale projects, such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

"They (China) have a USD two trillion import market," he said. "China has also given a preferential trade agreement whereby Pakistan can now export to China at the same terms as any other ASEAN countries. So this is a great opportunity," Khan added. "Apart from that, we have this opportunity now to get the Chinese industries to relocate in Pakistan, bring in technology. So, China has given us a great opportunity to lift ourselves up from where we are right now," he said. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had last week extended a bailout package worth USD six billion to help Pakistan restore an inclusive and sustainable growth of its plunging economy.

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