Pakistan Observer

Boost to Pak-China relations

News & Views

Mohammad Jamil

Tuesday, December 21, 2010 - Pakistan was wary of the US for its civil-nuclear agreement with India, as it declined to sign similar agreement with Pakistan, especially when Pakistan was more energy-starved than India. America’s bid to make India permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and envisaging a role for India in Afghanistan to the detriment of Pakistan had pushed Pakistan against the wall. The US also continued with the litany of ‘do more’ when Pakistan’s army was already over-stretched by launching operations in Swat, Bajaur and later in South Waziristan, as Pakistan has to look after the eastern borders with a hostile neighbour next door. Of course, China has once again come forward to help Pakistan in the hour of need. China and Pakistan concluded nearly 15 billion dollars’ worth of deals on 18th December. Business leaders also formalised the paperwork - adding to the 20 billion dollars’ worth of deals signed a day earlier. The latest deals included 17 agreements, four memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and one joint venture.

The two countries reached agreement on enhancing bilateral ties during the one-to-one as well as delegation-level talks between Gilani and Wen Jiabao. China vowed to extend full support to Pakistan’s sovereignty, security and political integrity. It also extended strong support for enhancing Pakistan’s defence and economic cooperation as well as in space programme. During meeting between China’s premier Wen Jia Bao and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Chinese premier said that China would help Pakistan in increasing exports and improving its infrastructure. Earlier, Gilani said, “We would encourage Chinese companies to consider investments in the energy sector, which assures certain returns. Our energy requirements are expected to increase from 20,000MWs to more than 160,000MWs by the year 2030.” Although no specific mention was made of nuclear power, talks are believed to be ongoing on China building a nuclear power plant to overcome acute energy shortages.

America had discouraged Pakistan from Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, and was also averse to Pak-China nuclear agreement. The day premier Wen Jia Bao was on Pakistani soil, a statement from US ambassador in Pakistan Cameron Munter said that America won’t object to Pak-Nuclear cooperation, knowing full well that China would not be deterred from taking independent decisions. Anyhow, Pakistan has to utilize 185 billion tonnes of coal reserves at Tharparker, which could be converted into energy to satisfy Pakistan’s growing demand. But Pakistan needs foreign investment and technical assistant to exploit those resources on war footing. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, while encouraging Chinese investors to explore opportunities in oil and gas sectors said: “The government has announced special economic incentives for Chinese investors including duty-free import of plant and machinery, exemption from sales tax and income tax.” Addressing the participants he said that Pakistan was in the process of creating a National Trade Corridor to be connected to China through an upgraded Karakoram Highway.

China has in the past also extended full cooperation to make Pakistan self-reliant by providing know-how with a view to strengthening and ensuring territorial integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan. For its part, Pakistan has always supported China on issues like Hong Kong, Tibet and Taiwan, and continues to support on Tibet and Taiwan after the Hong Kong has joined the mainland. China is likely to continue with its policy of making Pakistan strong, which will per force result in addressing the imbalance in the region. One can observe that on one hand the US and European countries have opened a front against Muslim World demonizing Islam and dub Muslims as terrorists. On the other hand, they are contriving plans to marginalize China, and wish to divide the world in Cold War like situation of blocs. Since the US and western countries need China’s clout over North Korea and Iran on the matter of nuclear non-proliferation, they have placed the ‘project’ of containing China on the back-burner for the time being. But such maneuvers cannot deter China in its unstoppable rise to super power. China’s economic growth was more than 10 percent during the last decade and has Gross National Product (GDP) next to America. It would not be an exaggeration to say that with China’s rise, the present world has already become a bipolar world. The maxim that ‘nations with great past have great future’ is premised on the rich resources, geographical location and will and determination of the hard working people. And China is a fine example of this reality. The Chinese nation with a civilization of more than 5,000 years had entered a new era of development and progress since Chairman Mao Tse Tung pronounced the founding of the People’s Republic of China on 1st October 1949. Indeed, China was once a great civilization, but degeneration had crept in due to the intrigues of the West. However, the Marxist ideology inspired the people and it was back on the track to enlightenment and development. China was predominantly an agricultural society; therefore base of its revolution was not proletariat but farmers.

At present, America is a sole super power, but its economy is in doldrums and its influence is waning every passing day. China on the other hand is poised to become super power in the near future to make the world a bi-polar world. China has already surpassed Japan as the world’s second largest economy. As conventional wisdom is often hard to dispute, most pundits agree that this is China’s century and they presage that China will rule the world, figuratively if not literally. Driven by such fears, America has been pursuing a policy of containing China but despite its ruses and manipulations China has excellent relations with the countries of Asia, Africa and South America. And who would not like to have strong bonds with the emerging super power? Pakistan has indeed been lucky to have in China a trustworthy and reliable friend, as China has always helped Pakistan whenever the latter was in dire straits. It would not be wrong to say that China has more interest in Pakistan’s stability than any other country of the world. If America helped Pakistan in the past and gave economic and military aid, it was because of Pakistan being an America ally.

China is, indeed, a peace-loving country and it has neither bullied its smaller neighbours nor has it ever tried to extend hegemony over other countries. It is more interested in improving its economy rather than engaging itself in any military entanglement because economic strength can help increase military strength. That is why it has hitherto opted to seek political and negotiated settlement of the Taiwan issue although it has left no doubt in any one’s mind that it will not hesitate to go to any extent to retrieve its territory that was separated by Chiang Kai Shek through a conspiracy. Anyhow, China’s policy of having friendly relations with all its neighbours should not be misunderstood, as it has the capability and the resources to give adequate response to those harbouring evil designs. And the tolerance China shows to other countries is in fact its strength. So far Pakistan is concerned, China always supported Pakistan, and of course Pakistan has also supported China over the issue of Hong Kong and Taiwan and condemned the machinations against China in the name of Tibet.

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