Achievements, challenges of Sino-Pak ties in new era
FROM the Cold War in the 1950s to the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s and the war against terrorism in Afghanistan since the 21st century, over the past 70 years, Sino-Pakistani relations have withstood the test of the changing international landscape and remained rock-solid and unbreakable.
Sino-Pakistani friendship is a textbook example of countries with different ideologies, histories and cultures can not only peaceful coexistence but also in close friendship.
Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has made bold efforts to promote innovation in both theory and practice, deepened our all-dimensional diplomatic agenda, and led major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics to new heights.
President Xi Jinping paid a historic visit to Pakistan in April 2015, elevating bilateral relations to an all-weather strategic cooperative partnership, Sino-Pakistani friendship entered a new era.
Firstly, the proposal of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in 2013 shows that the importance of Pakistan in China’s national development strategy and diplomatic strategy has reached an unprecedented height, and the national development strategies of the two countries will be further closely linked and mutually supportive.
In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward the cooperation initiative of building the “New Silk Road Economic Belt” and “21st Century Maritime Silk Road”, then the Belt and Road Initiative has become China’s national development strategy in the new era, which embodies China’s concept of development and world view.
The construction of “Pakistan Economic Corridor”, which was proposed almost at the same time, was praised as the flagship project of the “One Belt And One Road” initiative due to its significance in the “One Belt And One Road” initiative and the special friendly relationship between the two countries.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor aims to consolidate the foundation of China-Pakistan all-weather strategic partnership through promoting and deepening cooperation in our two counties’ energy, security, economy and other fields.
The construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is closely linked to China’s industrial restructuring and transformation of its economic development model in the new era, and is closely linked to the stability and development of China’s western areas.
The CEPC is an important channel and platform for China to expand opening-up and cooperation to the westward.
The CPEC will directly boost Pakistan’s industrial, energy and infrastructure development and elevate Pakistan’s important position in geopolitics and energy security.
The construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has closely linked the national development strategies of China and Pakistan.
As the world’s second largest economy and the largest trading country, with rich experience in development and reform, comprehensive and sound modern industrial system, huge overseas investment capacity, China can and should play a more active role in Pakistan’s economic development and national construction.
This is not only the consistent commitment of China to peace, stability and prosperity regionally and globally, but also it’s the reflection and inevitable outcome of China-Pakistan friendship.
According to some reports, the investment about China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has increased from US $42 billion to US $54 billion, which is not only the largest single Chinese investment overseas in history, but also brings unprecedented overseas investment and comprehensive industrial development plan for Pakistan. We are on the threshold of a new era of Sino-Pakistan all-weather strategic partnership.
With the promotion of the construction of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the partnership between China and Pakistan will expand from the high-level politics to the low-level ones, from fields of politics and diplomacy to economy, trade, culture, educational cooperation and people-to-people contact.
Secondly, from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to the “One Belt And One Road” initiative, from the China-Pakistan Community of Shared Future to the Community of Shared Future for Mankind, these proposals demonstrate that Sino-Pakistan relations have unique value and significance in the practice and theory of China’s diplomacy, and that Sino-Pakistan friendship has implications to global governance and establishing a new kind of international relations.
Ideas of the Belt and Road Initiative and the Community of Shared Future for Mankind embodies a concentrated reflection of China’s thinking and exploration to the world and regional peace and development in this change and turbulence times.
It is a kind of practice and exploration by China to deal with hegemonism, unilateralism, trade protectionism, anti-globalization trend, global climate change, non-traditional security threats and other issues that increasingly threaten peace and development of the international community.
On the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, the experience and practice of Sino-Pakistan relations over the past 70 years of mutual support and joint progress have enriched and inspired the innovation and development of China’s diplomacy.
In January 2021, Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out at the Davos Agenda Dialogue that“The problems facing the world are intricate and complex.
The way out of them is through upholding multilateralism and building a community with a shared future for mankind.”
At the Boao Forum for Asia in April, Chinese President Xi Jinping further emphasized that China will act in the spirit of openness and inclusiveness as we work with all willing participants to build the BRI into a pathway to poverty alleviation and growth, which will contribute positively to the common prosperity of humankind.
Obviously, in the face of a complex world situation, anti-globalization trend, the rise of populism in the world and the perplexity of non-traditional security issues such as climate change and public health, building a community with a shared future for mankind and jointly building the “One Belt And One Road” is the path and hope for mankind to cope with these threats and challenges.
These proposals have contributed Chinese wisdom and solutions to protecting world peace and promoting common development.
So in a large sense, the theory and practice of the CPEC and the building of the China-Pakistan Community of Shared Future have provided theoretical basis and practical experience for China to put forward the Belt and Road Initiative and the Community of Shared Future for Mankind with more global significance, deeper connotation and rich extension.—To be continued.
—The writer is a PhD associate research fellow, Director of Research Centre on Pakistan, China (Kunming) Academy of South & Southeast Asia Studies.