14 Feb

1. Introduction

Pak-China friendship is best ever since inception of Pakistan. This friendship is called time-tested and all-weathered. Both countries have strong diplomatic, defense, economic and cultural relationship. Pakistan has always supported China in all issues including right to Taiwan and One-China Policy. Similarly, China has always supported Pakistan in Kashmir issue. China has also provided diplomatic, defense and economic support to Pakistan. China has the potential the next super power and it has a lot of interest in Pakistan to fulfill its political and economic motives. Pakistan also needs good relations with China. Relationship between China and Pakistan has been described by the Pakistan ambassador to China as "higher than Himalaya, deeper than the Ocean, stronger than steal, dearer than eyesight, and sweeter than honey".

2. History of Pak-China Relations :

Pakistan and China have strong relations ever since inception of Pakistan. In 1950, Pakistan became the third non-communist country and the first Muslim country who recognized Peoples Republic of China (PRC). Diplomatic relations between the two countries started in 1951. In 1963, Pakistan solved border disputes with China by acceding Trans-Karakoram Track to China. In 1971, Pakistan played an important role in bringing the US and China close to each other by secretly arranging the US President Nixon visit to China. 

In 1978, Pakistan and China were linked by Karakoram Highway. In 1986, Pakistan and China reached a comprehensive nuclear cooperation agreement in which China promised to build four nuclear reactors in Pakistan by 2011. In short, Pakistan and China are time-tested friends ever since inception. Relation between Pakistan and China can be discussed as follows:

1. Diplomatic

2. Defense

3. Economic

4. Cultural

3. Diplomatic

  • Broadly speaking, three subject matters in Pakistan enjoy unanimous nationwide support namely, Kashmir, A-bomb and China. China also enjoys 90% favorability rating in Pakistan. PTV daily broadcasts a song about Pak-China friendship.
  • Strong diplomatic ties exist because Pakistan considers China all-weathered friend, China transfers technology to Pakistan, Pak-China want to counter US-India interests in the region, and to launch joint counter terrorism efforts.
  • Pakistan recognized PRC in 1950 and diplomatic ties were forged in 1951.In 1963, relationship became strong after Sino- India war of 1962 when Pakistan acceded Trans-Karakoram track to China. Since then, both countries have good diplomatic, defense, economic and cultural relations.
  • When Pakistan joined SEATO and CENTO, Pak assured China that it was only to protect itself and not to contain China. Pakistan got out of SEATO and CENTO when it joined Non-Alignment Movement ( NAM ) in 1979 in Havana Summit.
  • There are five tenets on which Pak-China diplomatic ties rely:

a. Mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty

b. Mutual non-aggression

c. Mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs

d. Equality and mutual benefit

e. Peaceful co-existence

6. In 1971, Pakistan also played a vital role in ending tensions between US and China by arranging a visit of US President Nixon to China.

7. Since then, both countries have frequent visits of leaders between both countries. And leaders of one country are warmly welcomed by the other country.

8. Pakistan has supported China in all its issues relating to right to Taiwan and One China policy. China also supports Pakistan in all its issues like Kashmir issue, Mumbai attacks, and UBL Abbottabad episode.

9. There is tacit understanding between Pak and China that there are "hidden foreign hands behind terrorism and instability in Pak and Afghanistan sabotage the security of the region and derail the Sino-Pak relations.

10. 2011 was designated the Year of China-Pakistan Friendship'.

11. Thus Pak and China are "friends in need and both back and help each other.

4. Defense relations

1. China provides material support to Pakistan's Army, Navy and Air Force. In 2013, Pakistan emerged as the largest recipient of Chinese arms export. In 2008-2012, 55% of China's arms exports were to Pakistan.

2. Pakistan is also thought to benefit from China's plutonium -based nuclear program. China is believed to facilitate lslamabad's nuclear weapons capability.

3. China has built two nuclear power plants in Pakistan in 1990s and signed a deal to build two more. Pak and China are interested in counter balancing the nuclear deals between India and the United States. Karachi and Chashma Nuclear Power Plants and Karachi Coastal Power Project are the major outcomes of this cooperation.

4. Joint Fighter 17 (JF-17) is a low-cost, single engine, multirole aircraft developed by Pakistan and China in late 1990s. Both countries have also jointly developed K8 karakoram advanced training aircraft and Al-Khalid tank.

5. In April 2015, China concluded sale of 8 conventional submarines worth 5billion USD to Pakistan.

6. It is also believed that Chinese military engineers have examined wreckage of US stealth helicopter procured by Pakistan intelligence services in Abbottabad incident.

7. China has also helped Pakistan in fighting WOT(War On Terror) and has urged US to acknowledge the Pakistan's role in GWOT(Global War On Terror) and avoid excessive criticism.

5. Economic relations

1. Pak and China have bilateral economic cooperation in the form of Joint Economic Commission, Economic Cooperation Group, Joint Energy Working Group, and a Joint Investment Company.

2. In 2006, Pak and China also signed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and 5-year Development Program on Economic and Trade Cooperation.

3. By 2013, China was the 2nd largest trading partner of Pakistan.

4. Currently China has undertaken different developmental projects in Pakistan in the fields of education. health care, energy, water, environment, and ICTs.

5. Pakistan is the only country in South Asia with a FTA and currency swap agreement (direct trade without the use of USD as intermediary trade currency) with China.

6. China has helped Pakistan in various projects like:

a. Building / running of Basha and Bunji dams

b. Karakoram Highway

c. Pakistan aeronautical complex

d. Gawadar deep sea port

e. Indus highway

f. Saindak Copper and Gold Mine Project

g. Duda lead-zinc mine project

h. Thal coal mining project

7. Various investments of China in Pakistan include:

a. Building of CPEC

b. Investment in heavy industry, infrastructure and energy

c. China Mobile

d. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

8. China is investing in Gawadar Port and CPEC. Pakistan will become the hub of trade, transportation and economic corridor because it is situated in the center of China, South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia. Similarly, Gawadar port shares border with Iran, lies at the apex of Arabian Peninsula and is close (180 nautical miles) to the Strait of Hormuz. 35% of world's soil passes through the Strait of Hormuz. Pakistan can also provide transit to Afghanistan and CARs.

9. Future cooperation is geared towards space science and technology, maritime security and climate change.

6. Cultural relation

1. There has cultural relation between Pak and China. Currently, People-to-people exchange including students, scholars, workers and media is among the priority list in future Sino-Pak relations.

2. Pakistani students are learning Chinese.

3. Confucius Centre has been established in NUML and Islamic University.

4. Exchange is science and technology is being encouraged under Cooperative Educational Program.

5. Pak-China Friendship Centre is also established in Islamabad.

7. How Pakistan sees China

1. Pakistan sees China as a powerful neighbor and defense and economic partner.

2. China is powerful ally to have. China holds veto right in the UN and is a member of NSGs.

3. Development of Gawadar port by China will create an opportunity for Pakistan to intensify its commercial relations with the energy-rich CARS.

4. Pakistan also needs China to mitigate Indian influence in the region.

5. China also transfers technology to Pakistan to enable it to become self-reliant.

6. Currently, both the Pakistan and the China have their focus on economy which has strengthened the ties between the two countries.

8. How China sees Pakistan

1. Containment of India through Pakistan is important for China.

2. The geopolitics of Pakistan is important to China. China imports 50% oil from Middle East and 20% from Africa which passes through the Strait of Malacca where it is facing security concerns because of the presence of Indian and American military bases. Gawadar offers secure and short access to sea routes to the Indian Ocean from Xinjiang.

3. China is also interest in using Islamabad's good relations with the Muslim countries specifically Middle Eastern nations.

4. Pakistan is also a market for Chinese goods and services.

9. Major concerns of Pakistan and China

1. China continues to advice Pakistan to develop its economy and to foster good relations with the other countries including India. CPEC is a glimpse of this notion.

2. China is also concerned about the terrorism, extremism, insecurity and instability in Pakistan.

3. China is also concerned about the links between Al-Qaeda, TTP and Uighur East Turkestan lslamic Movement (ETIM). ETIM is a militant group that operates in Chinese province of Xinjiang.

4. China is also concerned about the security of Chinese workers in Pakistan.

5. China and Pakistan are also concerned about the outside involvement of US and India in activities aimed at sabotaging Pak-China relations. US and India are trying to hinder the Gawadar Project and the CPEC.

6. India is also meddling in Baluchistan, FATA, and Karachi which is a source of concern for both the Pakistan and the China.

7. Trade imbalance with China is also a concern of Islamabad.

10. Conclusion

Thus China and Pakistan are all-weathered and time-tested friends. Their relation is higher than Himalayas and sweeter than honey. Both enjoy strong diplomatic, defense, economic and cultural ties. Both understand each other and help and support each other. Both want peace and stability in the region and to curtail the influence of India, US and Russia in the region. They are also working together to overcome the current challenges being faced by the region.

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