Why is China investing so much in Pakistan? What are china’s interests in Pakistan? Why china always be the first to protect it from internal and external threats? Let us explore the answer.
It has been said that the friendship between Pakistan and China is “more precious than eyesight,” “stronger than steel,” “higher than the mountains,” “deeper than the oceans,” “higher than the mountains,” and “sweeter than honey.”
These are the remarks of the ambassador of Pakistan to China, and it is possible that one could consider them to be an understatement. There is no question that these two nations have cultivated a long-lasting and highly intimate friendship, which they continue to take pleasure in today.
At first look, it would seem like an odd connection to make. China is both an economic and military powerhouse on the international stage. Pakistan is an exception to this rule. There are few significant cultural ties, either in the more recent past or present day. Despite this, it is evident that Beijing’s ruling elite has a soft spot for their southern neighbour.
Pakistan: Gateway to the Islamic world
China relies heavily on Pakistan as a gateway for connecting with the Islamic world. It is a vital partner in countering India’s influence and fostering growth in China’s predominantly Muslim provinces. On the other hand, Pakistan is an important hub connecting East and West. For instance, when the U.S. and Communist China began to work together more closely in 1972, it was thanks to Pakistan’s efforts. Through their diplomatic efforts, Pakistan was pivotal in facilitating U.S. National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger’s ice-breaking visit to China in 1971. This opened the door for Nixon to travel to China as president of the United States. No previous American head of state had made such a visit.
China: Trading and Development partner
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 47% of China’s arms exports go to Pakistan. Pakistan now receives more weapons from China than from any other country, and China is Pakistan’s third-largest commercial partner. Joint projects now produce everything from fighter planes to guided missile frigates, demonstrating a new level of military collaboration. China originally loaned Pakistan $60 million but eventually converted the debt into a gift. They decided to work together to enhance Pakistan’s civil nuclear power sector.
The People Love Each Other
A poll conducted by the BBC World Service in 2014 found that most Pakistanis have a favourable opinion of China’s impact, with only 15% holding an unfavourable viewpoint. The people of China have the third most favourable view of Pakistan’s influence globally, behind only those of Indonesia and Pakistan, among the countries that make up the Asia-Pacific area. According to the findings of the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, which was conducted in July 2013, Pakistan was found to have the highest favourable image of China of any country in the world. According to the study’s findings, 81% of Pakistanis have a favourable response to China.
A recent study of public opinion in China indicated that 73% of respondents have a favourable image of Pakistan, making it the second most highly seen country in the world behind Russia, which is viewed positively by 80% of respondents. A survey conducted in China found that approximately 18% of respondents had a negative view of Pakistan, while 9% had a neutral opinion. The findings of this study indicate that the often-repeated discourse of China and Pakistan being “iron brothers” is not just official rhetoric; it truly has the support of the Chinese people. The official rhetoric of both countries also confirms this sentiment. The transformation of Pakistan’s least developed area due to the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is another indication of this.
China Pakistan: All-weather friends
After the demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1989, Pakistan and Cuba were the only two countries to express their support for China publicly. Pakistan was one of those countries. China backs Pakistan’s position on Kashmir, while Pakistan backs China on the issues of Xinjiang, Tibet, and Taiwan. Both countries are concerned about the situation in Kashmir. China supported Pakistan throughout the Indo-Pakistani wars that broke out in 1965 and 1971 and pitted Pakistan against India. In 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, China supported an alliance between Pakistan and the United States that fought against the invasion. Additionally, China offered help to Pakistan in 1998 so that it might achieve its goal of becoming a nuclear state. In 1972, it was the first time it exercised its right of veto in the Security Council, and it did so to prevent Bangladesh from joining the United Nations.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
This superhighway would connect Pakistan with China and the countries that are located in Central Asia. It will be made up of a modern road and rail network. The Gwadar Port, located in the southern part of Pakistan, will be the hub for all China’s imports and exports. Most of its commercial activity, particularly oil exports, will be conducted through the port, managed by the China Overseas Port Holding Enterprise, a state-owned Chinese company. At the moment, more than 16,000 kilometres of shipping are required to move sixty percent of China’s oil supply from the Persian Gulf to Shanghai, the only commercial port in China. This is a significant obstacle for China to overcome. The trip can take anywhere from two to three months, and during that time, the ships are susceptible to various dangers, including political adversaries, severe weather, and pirates. If you use the Gwadar port instead, the distance travelled, the amount of time required, and the cost will be significantly reduced.
Skilled Workforce on their Doorstep
According to Yao Jing, the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan, projects being carried out by the Chinese government in Pakistan as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor have already created 75,000 jobs for Pakistanis. This is expected to expand significantly, notably in Gwadar, where a rising employment rate is driving up demand for land and housing. This is driving up the price of land. According to estimates provided by the Applied Economics Research Center of Karachi and the Planning Commission of Pakistan, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) may result in the creation of 700,000 to 800,000 jobs over the next 15 years, the majority of which will be found in the infrastructure, energy, and transportation industries.
A total of 51 Memorandums of Understanding were signed between the two countries before the commencement of the CPEC project. Additionally, eight cooperative infrastructure projects and five joint energy projects were launched during this time.
The areas of food and agriculture have been the focus of the most significant collaborative effort between the two nations. The Chinese are anxious about how they will provide food for their enormous population; thus, they view this region as extremely important. In agriculture, the CPEC agreement details an arrangement that begins at one extreme of the supply chain and continues to the other. This involves China supplying other countries with seeds, insecticides, and fertiliser, among other agricultural supplies. Additionally, Chinese businesses will run their own farms within Pakistan and grain, vegetable, and fruit processing facilities. Most of China’s agricultural produce will be stored and transported using a network managed by Chinese logistics corporations.
Cooperation in academia, Technology, and health
Broadcasts on radio and television are currently being exchanged between the media outlets of the two countries in a bilateral manner. In recent years, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China established a branch in Lahore, which is located in Pakistan. The NUML International Center of Education was jointly founded by the University of Modern Languages (NUML) in Pakistan and Xinjiang University in China. In addition, a China Culture Center has just been built in Pakistan.
The China Ministry of Science and Technology and the Pakistan Ministry of Science and Technology collaborated to found the China-Pakistan Joint Cotton Bio-Tech Laboratory. If these steps are successful, the ties between the two countries will become more deeply interwoven at all levels, extending to the full spectrum of contacts and linkages at every level of society. If the measures are unsuccessful, the relationships will remain the same. If these attempts are unsuccessful, the nature of relations between the two countries will not change.
Contributing to the Growth of China’s International Influence
Except for India, regional powers such as the United States, Arab countries, and Iran are optimistic about the possibility of China taking responsibility for maintaining regional stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Therefore, for the foreseeable future, China-Pakistan relations and the expansion of Chinese influence in Central and South Asia will continue to develop further as China pursues the “One Belt and One Road” initiative, gradually replacing the status-quo that the United States of America dominates.
China is no longer willing to play a subservient and unassuming role. As a result, it has sought the position of a great power, which is commensurate with its strength and can affect the global distribution of power. China is in a position to assume responsibility for filling the power vacuum in Afghanistan in a fashion that is generally acceptable to all parties involved due to the current situation in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, without the assistance of Pakistan, it will not be successful.
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