In changing World order, Pakistan and China emerging as strong strategic partners: Chinese state media
BEIJING - The last week’s official visit of Chinese foreign minister to Pakistan and his meetings with the political and military leadership ranging from cooperation on international affairs to defence and security was highly successful, as it has set the tone for taking collaboration between the two countries to new heights.
In a rapidly changing world order, Pakistan and China are becoming increasingly important for each other. The geopolitical factors causing alliance shifts in Eurasia are the same reinforcing the partnership between Pakistan and China, according to an article published by Global Times on Monday. The Chinese government decided to reach out to the new government that has taken charge in Islamabad. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi made a delegation-level visit to Pakistan last week.
Wang’s meetings with Pakistani officials, including the president, prime minister and the military chief, indicate the extent of discussions that ranged from cooperation on international affairs to defence and security.
A highlight of Wang’s visit was the discussion on the situation in Afghanistan and how it can be improved to bring peace to the region. Since stability in Afghanistan is related to security of Chinese projects abroad and a peaceful environment in Xinjiang, China has already been working extensively with Pakistan to leverage Islamabad’s influence.
Pakistan is facing disparaging bids from the United States despite its decisive action in the war on terror. China has, on the other hand, time and again supported efforts made by Pakistan in uprooting the menace of terrorism. During this visit, Wang Yi appreciated Pakistan’s positive role and active participation in issues pertaining to Afghanistan and regional cooperation. The Chinese minister expressed solidarity with Pakistan several times during his visit. China as a good friend, a good partner and a good neighbour, he stated, will resolutely stand with and hold Pakistan as a priority in its foreign policy.
Cooperation in international affairs and pushing for an all-weather strategic partnership were two of the points elaborated in the 10-point consensus achieved during the visit. The consensus mainly revolved around areas of defense cooperation, strategic partnership and communication. The newly formed Pakistani government is finalizing a strategy to meet its ambitious development goals.
Wang stated his government’s intent of providing all-out help in this regard and discussed poverty alleviation which Imran Khan, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, has already pointed out as one of his foremost domestic agenda. Achieving more balance in bilateral trade was also part of the discussions.
The upcoming China International Import Expo (CIIE) is offering Pakistan a chance to increase its exports to China, grab the lucrative Chinese market and adjust its trade balance. Pakistan can even reap added benefits as it has been invited as a guest of honor at the Expo. At the invitation of the Chinese government, Khan is likely to be paying an official visit to China in November which is expected to coincide with the CIIE.
Another high point of the visit was a resolve by both countries to strengthen the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi assured his counterpart that CPEC was his government’s top priority.
Apart from providing socio-economic development, the mega project promises to bridge Pakistan’s infrastructure gap, increase its industrial capacity and align it with global supply chains.
Detractors of Pakistan-China collaboration meanwhile did not miss out on the chance of attempting to drive a wedge between the two countries. A western media report misquoted a Pakistani advisor over his government’s plans on CPEC and the Belt and Road initiative (BRI). Pakistani officials were quick to issue a written rebuttal to the report especially its title. A strong rebuke from China, calling the report ill-intentioned, also doused a plethora of media stories which made the report a base for their wishful thinking.
Relations between Pakistan and China have flourished in the thickest of times and amid the severest of criticism. Successive governments in both countries have built upon the efforts of their predecessors to solidify a strategic partnership that continues to grow despite the world’s changed priorities.