Pakistan and US-Sino relations | By Ali Gilani

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Pakistan and US-Sino relations


AMIDST pandemic looming large and threatening the life and livelihood of nations around the world, there was a colossal showdown of two superpowers at freezing cold Alaska.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi traded blows over economical and technological theft and accused each other of horrific and inhumane crimes.

The talks appeared to have more of a heavyweight showdown of might and guts than fruitful negotiations. Both sides went against every diplomatic norm and refused to bow-down to each other.

US-China relations have always been complex. In early 70’s Washington DC in the midst of rift with the Soviets saw an opportunity to have ties with China to capture and exploit China’s market in order to elevate its economic growth.

After the end of the long cold war with the Soviets, the US claimed the throne only to see another potential rival on the horizon.

In the early 90s China was the tenth largest economic power of the world. And in the last three decades where US foreign policy involved initiating wars and toppling nations resulting in the exhaustion of its military and economic prowess, China was exponentially growing her economy by trade and production, avoiding any and every conflict.

Political pundits had been predicting China’s take over for decades and finally when the Pentagon and White House decided to do something about it, China had already caught up to them.

The Trump Administration did its best to curb Chinese influence in the global market and pleaded with American citizens to let him hold the office again if they didn’t want to see an authoritarian regime taking over the whole world.

Biden following in the footsteps of his predecessor has made the forward block of Japan, Australia and India in order to drive China out of European and Asian markets.

Yes, the fierce economic and military struggle has been started and whichever melts even the slightest will lose the contest.

Having said that, these behemoths going against one another could have catastrophic effects on the world. For starters, during the cold war era, Soviets had 40% less GDP growth than the US.

China has almost the same GDP growth as its counterpart and according to a report of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2024, China is likely to surpass the US economically.

Now, the question is where should Pakistan stand in all of this? Islamabad has never been successful when it comes to maintaining friendly ties or at the very least professional relationships with the enemies of the US. However, this time the situation is a little too delicate.

On one hand, CPEC holds an unparalleled importance for economic and infrastructural growth.

On the other hand, Pakistan can’t afford the full-blown escalation with the Americans. The policymakers have to be extra careful.

Pakistan has to learn to maintain equilibrium between its relations with the two superpowers. It is easier said than done, but has to be done nonetheless.
—The writer is contributing columnist.