H.E Mr. Yao Jing: Taking Pak-China Relations to New Heights

When it comes to China’s relations with neighboring countries China-Pakistan relations are the closest and friendliest. The two countries established diplomatic relations back in 1951, making Pakistan one of the first Islamic countries as well as the second country in South Asia after India to establish diplomatic relations with China. The two countries have remained strong allies ever since. The closeness of the relationship between the two countries can be seen from major bilateral interactions over the years. For instance, in the Indo-Pakistani wars of 1965 and 1971, China took the side of Pakistan against India. In addition, China supported the alliance between Pakistan and the United States against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. China also provided assistance for Pakistan to become a nuclear power in 1998, and used its Security Council veto power for the first time in 1972 to block the entry of Bangladesh into the United Nations. Pakistan played a crucial role in the ice-breaking visit of U.S. National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger to China in 1971, and was one of only two United Nations member countries (along with Cuba) to support China following the Tiananmen Square incident of 1989. The two countries enjoy close cooperation in areas such as trade, because of shared boarder, thus having a unique status as a China ally.

China’s development across a range of areas has been the subject of increasing international attention in recent years. China is widely considered to be an “emerging power” that may threaten the United States in the future. Therefore, China’s strategic relationship with Pakistan must be understood from an international strategic perspective. Although China-Pakistan relations have always been friendly, past cooperation between the two countries was mostly at the political and military level and had not extended to the comprehensive social, economic, and cultural exchange relations of today. This new phase in relations started in May 2013 with the visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to Pakistan and the official proposal of the concept of the “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.” Subsequently, there was an exchange of visits between leaders and officials from both countries, including the visit of Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain to China in February 2014 and then Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s subsequent visit in April 2014 which involved intensive consultations over the proposal. Finally, during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan in April 2015, the proposal was officially finalized, including the signing of 51 Memorandums of Understanding between the two countries, the inauguration of eight projects, and the launching of five joint energy projects. Aside from the familiar infrastructure and energy projects, this new phase of relations between the two countries also included social, economic, technological, and even cultural cooperation.

The diplomatic mission has always been an imperative source to further fortify the already existing relations. New Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Mr. Yao Jing has recently assumed charge of his office. Yao Jing, who has served as Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan had assume his new assignment in Islamabad. On arrival in Islamabad, he said that China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic partners and have always been maintaining good friendly relations, adding, China accords importance to its diplomatic relations with Pakistan. He expressed the confidence that the two countries will further strengthen bilateral cooperation under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework. Both China and Pakistan keeping in view their mutual interest will work together to bring about further development and prosperity for the people of the two countries, he added. Recently while talking to BBC Urdu Mr. Yao said that the Gwadar sea pot is very close to becoming an international trading hub and there is no threat to CPEC. He also said that the law and Balochistan situation has improved considerably. Around 10,000 Chinese and sixty thousand Pakistanis were working on CPEC, the diplomat said, adding Beijing was satisfied with the measures taken by Pakistan for their protection. As he has served in Afghanistan as well so he is very proactive regarding Pakistan Afghanistan relations in the current scenario. He said at many occasions that, China has always been desirous of good relations between the two South Asian neighbors and was making efforts for peace process in the war-torn country.

The recent launch of Gwadar Expo 2018 is again a very pragmatic step which has been taken towards the establishment of more comprehensive relations between the two countries. The statement given by Yao Jing on successful holding of Gwadar Expo 2018 was very encouraging. He said in his message that, “the development of Gwadar is in line with the principles of the Belt and Road Initiative, which stress wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. With the commitment and hard work on both sides, Gwadar will become a new hub of connectivity and commercial activities, bringing tangible benefits to the people of Balochistan, Pakistan, and the region at large”.

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Amna Malik
About Amna Malik 46 Articles
Author is the President, Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR) and Editor-in-Chief of ‘Mélange int’l Magazine’ and ‘ The Asian Telegraph’.