Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday that China will work with Pakistan for high-standard, sustainable, and livelihood-enhancing outcomes and further build the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) into an exemplary project of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, Xinhua reported.

Xi made the remarks in a congratulatory message to the Decade of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor celebration event held in Islamabad, Pakistan. The event took place for the disputed CPEC project despite the looming economic crisis that has gripped Pakistan due to increasing Chinese loans in the country.

Notably, CPEC is a flagship project under China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Xi said, "This has added new impetus to the economic and social development of Pakistan and laid a good foundation for regional connectivity and integration. It is a vivid testament to the all-weather friendship between China and Pakistan and provides an important underpinning for building an even closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era."

Stressing that China and Pakistan will continue to improve overall planning and expand and deepen cooperation, Xi said no matter how the international landscape may change, China will always stand firmly with Pakistan.

Xi added China and Pakistan will continue to work hand in hand and forge ahead in solidarity to carry forward the ironclad friendship, coordinate development and security, pursue the cooperation of higher standards, broader scope and greater depth, and take the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic cooperative partnership to new heights, so as to make an even greater contribution to peace and prosperity in the two countries and the broader region.

Vice Premier of China, He Lifeng, arrived in Pakistan on Sunday for a three-day visit to take part in a ceremony to commemorate the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project's tenth anniversary, Dawn reported.

During his Pakistan visit, Lifeng would also hold meetings with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and President Dr Arif Alvi.

Beijing's international infrastructure investment program — BRI — a term established by China's Xi Jinping in 2013, was created to rebuild China's Silk Road, which linked Asia with Africa and Europe in order to boost trade and economic development, as per CNN.

Each year, the effort has seen billions of dollars poured into infrastructure projects, including the construction of ports from Sri Lanka to West Africa, the paving of motorways from Papua New Guinea to Kenya, and the provision of power and telecoms infrastructure for people in Latin America and Southeast Asia.

In 2019, Italy became the only major Western country and the only country from the G7 group of advanced economies to join the BRI.

Quoting the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan, Dawn reported that Lifeng has played a “prominent role” in China’s international economic relations and implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative.

He was "instrumental in the planning and execution of multiple CPEC projects in Pakistan" while serving as chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission from 2017 to 2023, the Foreign Office stated.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a multi-billion dollar project, was introduced in 2013 and quickly dubbed the flagship extension of the Belt and Road Initiative. Pakistanis hoped that this new development program will bring change and turn the country into a regional hub.

However, the investment has only had a debilitating impact on the South-Asian country.

Balochistan, an impoverished province with significant mineral potential, continued to bear the brunt of the CPEC projects being built on its territory with no expectation of financial gain. This sense of exclusion has fuelled a mass rebellion in Balochistan against the CPEC.

Pakistan's economic troubles have deepened in recent years, with some critics blaming CPEC investments as a main contributing factor.