China and OIC: An expert opinion | By Dr Mehmood-ul-Hassan Khan


China and OIC: An expert opinion

MOST recently Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi participated in the 48th OIC session in Islamabad during which while delivering a keynote speech he reiterated his country’s support to Muslim world.

However, India has now rejected Chinese Foreign Minister Wang remarks on occupied Kashmir, terming it an uncalled for reference.

On the contrary, most of the national and international experts welcomed China’s participation in OIC as a historic first and termed it as a “paradigm shift” because China’s entry into Muslim world coincides with America’s exit, with US retrenchment being witnessed from Southwest Asia and ME.

They labelled it as recognition of China’s longstanding relationship and support to Muslim World.

China is emerging as a key player in Muslim world and this role is being enhanced also due to its ties with Pakistan.

It seems that China has further “strengthened” its socio-economic, geopolitical and geostrategic ties and strategic partnership with Muslim world.

It has also further enhanced its investment in these countries which is indeed a balancing act.

It has further diversified its foreign policy priorities and preferentially making investment in Muslim world.

In this context, China has invested over $400 billion in nearly 600 projects across the Muslim world under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Speaking at the meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Wang said Beijing has close ties with Muslim world based on respect and mutual cooperation.

He assured that China will continue to stand firmly on the side of the Palestinian people and support the early convening of a more authoritative and representative international peace conference on the basis of the two-state solution so as to promote a comprehensive and just settlement of Palestinian issue.

About the war between Russia and Ukraine, Wang said that China supports peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang showcased strategic significance of its holistic policy of multilateralism and desired to build partnership with Islamic countries.

It consists of solidarity, development, security and civilization with Islamic countries in a world full of turbulences and transformations.

Keeping in view, the rapidly changing socio-economic partnership, geopolitical dialogue and geostrategic development it is in best interest of two sides to support each other in safeguarding sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and back each other in exploring a development path suited to their own national conditions.

Moreover, he urged that both should also support each other in safeguarding their rightful development interests and common interests of developing countries.

Thus it creates a win-win proposition for both sides. Chinese Foreign Minister suggested that both should build partnership on development and rejuvenation.

In this regard, China will provide 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Islamic countries in helping them fight the pandemic.

Both sides should join hands to build the BRI and implement the Global Development Initiative (GDI) in high quality so as to contribute to realize the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Since China always believes in conflict resolution so China will continue supporting Islamic countries in solving the hotspot issues in the world with Islamic wisdom, and holding the key of stability and peace in their own hands.

In this connection, China is ready to promote the comprehensive and just settlement of the Palestinian issue on the basis of the two-state solution.

On the issue of Afghanistan he said that China backs Afghanistan in forming an inclusive government and achieving stability in governance so as to usher in a new era for peace and reconstruction.

China will encourage Russia and Ukraine to continue peace talks for a ceasefire and put an end to conflict until peace is achieved.

Efforts should be made to avoid a humanitarian disaster and prevent spillover of Ukraine crisis, which may otherwise affect or damage legitimate rights and interests of other regions and countries, he said.

China opposes creating division and confrontation by drawing lines with ideology, Wang said, adding that China is also against the ideas of “superiority of a civilization” and “clash of civilizations.

” He further suggested that both sides should also deepen their cooperation in preventive anti-terrorism and de-radicalization and oppose double standard in anti-terrorism and linking terrorism to a specific nation or religion.

He termed that equality is the basis of mutual communication of the two sides and win-win is the target of mutual cooperation and proposed three proposals to further boost communication between the two sides.

He proposed that China and the Islamic countries should always stick to mutual respect and mutual trust, and accommodate each other’s core concerns.

China will never forget the firm support from the Islamic countries in restoring its lawful seat at the United Nations, and China, in return, has always supported the Islamic world over its core concern of the Palestinian issue.

Moreover, two sides should always stick to unity and mutual assistance, and work together for the realization of common development.

Jointly building the Belt and Road has served as a bridge and a bond between the two sides for development and prosperity.

China has signed cooperation documents with 54 Islamic countries on nearly 600 large projects, bringing tangible results to the peoples of the two sides, Wang said.

Furthermore, China and the Islamic countries should always stick to learning from each other and safeguard the diversity of civilizations in the world.

The two sides should draw on the wisdom from each other’s long civilization, Wang added.

During his stay in Pakistan, Chinese State Councilor Wang met Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and discussed peace and stability in Afghanistan, besides calling for a diplomatic solution to the situation in Ukraine.

Qureshi welcomed Foreign Minister Wang’s participation in the OIC-CFM and attending the Pakistan Day Parade on March 23.

He underlined that the two countries had always supported each other on their respective core interests, and at every critical juncture.

To conclude, China’s peaceful “persuasion” having firm belief in global development initiative, community development, equal development, formation of unilateral power system, common/shared prosperity and last but not the least South-South Dialogue is the “benchmark” of further strengthening of relations with Muslim countries.

It is vital for Chinese government to play an active role in Muslim world to counter sad incidents of “Islamophobia” and “xenophobia”.

In this context, I suggest that there should be close liaison and media cooperation between China and Muslim world to mitigate false, fake and fictional propaganda of the western imperialistic powers.

Additionally, there is an urgent need to have “sustainable banking & finance” cooperation between the two sides which would be vital for achieving an “equal” and “equitable” world system in the days to come.

Greater capacity building in health, social, education, agriculture, water conservation, climate change, biodiversity and cooperation in artificial intelligence should be immediately “explored” and “executed” between China and Muslim world.

CPEC & BRI hold the key for future cooperation between China and Muslim world.

—The writer is Director, the Centre for South Asia & International Studies Islamabad & regional expert, China, CPEC & BRI.