China postpones JCC meeting under CPEC

No apparent reasons were cited for the sudden postponement

ISLAMABAD: The 10th annual Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting, under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), has been postponed for an indefinite period.

No apparent reasons were cited for the sudden postponement of JCC’s scheduled virtual meeting between the two sides. The JCC meeting was scheduled after October 2019 when the last meeting was held before the eruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CPEC Authority Chairman Lt Gen (Retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa, in a Tweet, said, “JCC-10 meeting on CPEC, which was scheduled to be held on 16th July 21, has been postponed to a later date after Eid. Fresh date will be shared as finalised. Meanwhile preparations continue.”

“On Chinese request, the JCC meeting under CPEC has been postponed,” said the official sources. It was conveyed to Pakistani side on Thursday when Minister for Planning Asad Umar and Chairman CPEC Authority were chairing a preparatory meeting to finalise projects to be considered into CPEC fold in virtual JCC meeting.

The development came days after thirteen people — nine Chinese nationals, two personnel of the Frontier Constabulary and two locals — were killed and 28 others injured when a coach carrying them to an under-construction tunnel site of the 4,300-megawatt Dasu hydropower project fell into a ravine in the Upper Kohistan area after an explosion.

On Thursday, the federal government said it could potentially be a terrorism incident as traces of explosives had been detected on the wreckage of the bus and at the blast site.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said in a Twitter posting, “Initial investigations into Dasu incident have now confirmed traces of explosives, terrorism cannot be ruled out.” Meanwhile, China announced that it was sending a team to Pakistan to deal with the aftermath of the incident.

“Today China will send a cross-departmental joint working group to Pakistan to help with relevant work,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a media briefing in Beijing. “No effort would be spared to find out what happened, conduct in-depth assessment of security risks, and do our utmost to ensure the safety of Chinese personnel”, he added.