PM visit to Beijing | By Prof Shazia Cheema, Prague

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PM visit to Beijing

AFTER a pause of almost four years, at last China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is back on track and the joint statement released after the visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to Beijing includes almost everything one can expect from two time-tested friends.

Whatever the former government of PTI had done with Pakistan’s foreign affairs, particularly with CPEC is now a dreadful dream of the past.

I had already been writing what irresponsible leadership of former Prime Minister Imran Khan did with Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Malaysia, China and even with the United States so there is no need to go into detail but I can recapitulate all events as “the most reckless foreign relations Pakistan ever had” what PTI did in its 42 month’s frightful tenure is a textbook example of bad diplomacy.

During his visit, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif held talks with the Premier of the State Council, Li Keqiang, the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Li Zhanshu, and President Xi Jinping.

The two sides held an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations, the regional situation and the international political landscape.

In the last two years, the West is targeting the “One-China Policy” and also questioning the South China Sea, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Tibet issues, and Pakistan’s firm and constant support to Chinese viewpoints over all above-mentioned issues had been appreciated by Chinese media during the visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif that covered all important issues that would help trembling economy of Pakistan to stand on its feet including ML-1 that is a project of key significance under the CPEC framework and of importance to Pakistan’s socio-economic development, the Karachi Circular Railway, which is an urgent requirement for Pakistan’s biggest city, Gwadar port free zone, cooperation in the areas of agriculture, mining, IT, socio-economic development under CPEC and the implementation of Framework Agreement on Industrial Cooperation to support Pakistan’s industrial development.

There is no doubt Pakistan and China are called the most time-tested and the best friends on earth but I believe China now needs Pakistan more than ever before because the West with its full force is trying to encircle China’s trade routes and harming Chinese’s commercial interests and the Pentagon’s backed projects like Five Eye, QUAD, AKUAS, Indo-Pacific Framework, Indo-Pacific Armies Management seminars and Pacific Island Nations Summit in Washington are directly targeting Chinese strategic and commercial interests all over the world.

We all know that Biden’s admInistration is on the fast track of major new foreign policy design to combat and contain China.

The Chairman of the Senate Defence Committee Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed calls this US attempt to containment of China a chapter of an outdated playbook, namely, the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

In his article titled “US China policy is heading towards disaster” writes that since anti-Communism still sells, this playbook, too, begins with the demonization of the Communist Party of China, as its nostalgic throwback to the Communist Party of Soviet Union (CPSU) but US policymakers fail to understand that China is not the Soviet Union.

I support Mushahid’s viewpoint that China is not the (former) Soviet Union that might have everything but not a sustainable trade and commercial model of survival.

President Putin once rightly said that the USSR had many friends but no buyers of its products.

China might not have everything that USSR had but it has buyers of its products on every street and corner of the world.

Right now, China does not want Pakistan only as a safe passage to Indo-Pacific but also as a rock-solid partner that will stand with China in all forthcoming challenges from the US-led western world.

—The writer is a Prague-based author, columnist and foreign affairs expert who writes for national and international media.

 

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