File photo: VCG
China and Pakistan not only share the common borders, but also shares mountains, rivers, and a common destiny. In the history of international affairs, China-Pakistan relations are considered a role model. Unlike the common perception in the Western world, our relations are not interest-led, but pure and based on trust, mutual respect, love and affection. China and Pakistan are Eastern countries and share the Eastern common values.
China and Pakistan established diplomatic relations on May 21, 1951. But the first high-level delegation from the Pakistan government visited China on January 4,1950, just after 3 months after the liberation of China. Pakistan was among the first countries which recognized the “People’s Republic of China”. However, our relations can be traced to more than 2,000 years ago, when Chinese monks like Fa Xian and Xuan Zang traveled to areas which belong to Pakistan today. In fact, an important faction of Buddhism originated from Pakistan.
China-Pakistan relations are termed “All-Weather Friendship” as we have passed many domestic and international hardships, but were always close friends. Pakistan was a close ally of the Western world during the Cold War era and signatory to many defense agreements with the West, but maintained a very close friendship with China. Pakistan was in frequent political changes, like civil and military rules, various political parties ruled the country with very different ideologies. But who ever was in power always kept close ties with China. Similarly, whoever led China was always a very close friend of Pakistan.
We are “time-tested friends”, as at all critical moments we stood side by side, hand in hand, supporting each other. China was passing through a very difficult period in the mid-1950s when the West imposed an economic blockade around China. Pakistan was protecting China’s interests. China was facing economic hard times during the 1960s and 1970s, but Pakistan was a close friend and supported China. Today, China has emerged as a global power and protected Pakistan on all critical issues.
In the recent meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Xi at the BRF in Beijing from April 25-27, 2019, an official statement was released called “Reaffirming 'All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership' between Pakistan and China. The two leaders exchanged views on the entire gamut of bilateral relations in a warm and cordial atmosphere. They affirmed the resolve to further strengthen their strategic cooperative partnership in all fields.
China-Pakistan relations have grown in all dimensions, whether political, diplomatic, defense, economic or people to people contacts. After the launch of BRI, the economic and social sector had visible progress. Pakistan strongly supports BRI and is one of the major beneficiaries of BRI, as CPEC is the flagship project. CPEC has been instrumental in the development of infrastructure in Pakistan. Pakistan was an electricity deficient country, but under CPEC, several power projects were completed and some are at the final stage of completion, which has narrowed the supply and demand gap of electricity in the country. Pakistan’s economy has shown a 1 to 2 percent growth in GDP since the launch of CPEC.
China-Pakistan relations are a guarantor of regional peace, stability and prosperity. The bond of pure friendship between the two nations will further grow to new heights.
Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomate), Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.