Pakistan has joined the growing list of countries seeking to extricate themselves from some of the more onerous aspects of China’s landmark Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Pakistan now has a new leader in former cricket star Imran Khan. Members of Khan’s cabinet have recently suggested that Islamabad take another look at the terms of contracts and loans agreed to by the previous government. On the campaign trail, Prime Minister Khan promised to make the details of these contracts public. He has yet to do so.
The renegotiation is a potential game-changer for the BRI, as the $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has long been a centerpiece of China’s rise as a global development financier. Depending on how a renegotiation process unfolds, it could also help to ease Pakistan’s deepening economic crisis.
But the question remains: How much would China be willing to bend?