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Posts Tagged China Pakistan Friendship

Pak China Relations: Academic & Socio-Cultural Perspective

Pak China Relations: Academic & Socio-Cultural Perspective

 

 

Round Table Discussion

Pak China Relations:
Academic & Socio-Cultural Perspective

Organised By

MUSLIM Institute

     
MUSLIM Institute in collaboration with China Pakistan Educational and Cultural Institute organized a Round Table Discussion titled “Pak China Relations: Academic & Socio-Cultural Perspective” on December 8, 2017, at Islamabad. Air Vice Marshal (R) Faaiz Amir (Vice Chancellor, Air University, Islamabad) chaired the session. Mr Tahir Mehmood (Public Relations Coordinator, MUSLIM Institute) delivered the opening remarks and moderated the proceedings. Other speakers include Mr. Zafar Bakhtawari (Former President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry), Prof. Le Wei (Dean, School of International Education, Yunnan University, China), Dr. Zhang Daojian (Director, Confucius Institute, NUML Islamabad), Mr. Tanvir Jafri (Incharge, China Study Centre, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad) and Mr. Me Heju (CEO, China Pakistan Educational & Cultural Institute). Mr Asif Tanveer Awan Advocate (Research Associate MUSLIM Institute) presented the vote of thanks.

Brief Summary of the remarks shared by the speakers is as follows:


Row 01 (From Left): Air Vice Marshal (R) Faaiz Amir, Prof. Le Wei, Mr. Zafar Bakhtawari
Row 02 (From Left): Dr. Zhang Daojian, Mr. Tanvir Jafri, Mr. Me Heju
Pak-China diplomatic relations were established in 1951. Pakistan is among those countries which recognized the People’s Republic of China soon after its revolution. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is also the first Muslim state to establish relations with China. An unshakeable mutual trust between both the states was seeded soon after the Bandung Conference in 1955 under the efforts of the Premier Zhou Enlai. Pak-China friendship, described by the political leadership of both the states is as higher as mountains, as deeper as oceans and as sweeter as honey is a unique and exceptional case in the international system. 

Pakistan is home to the vital link between China and the Muslim World. Both states have been rendering remarkable services for the sake of their mutual development in their transitional period of almost seven decades. For example, more than twenty-two major projects have been initiated by China in Pakistan which includes heavy mechanical complex, heavy electrical complex, tank rebuilding factory, aircraft rebuilding factory, Gwadar port, Karakoram Highway, Nuclear power plants etc.


Hall view of roundtable discussion.
China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is going to be a reality and both countries have decided to establish an international economic hub. CPEC is a game changer because the fate of Pakistan, as well as the region of South Asia and even the world at large, is going to be changed. The current Chinese president, Mr Xi Jinping wants to make China an economic superpower and in the pursuance of these initiatives, One Belt One Road (OBOR) project is in the process of completion. This initiative will connect 65 countries of the whole world. An interesting fact regarding this initiative is that out of a total 65 countries, 55 are Muslim countries. It looks that the world order is going to be reconstructed. The centre of power is likely to be shifted from the West to the East. Pakistan is on the front line with China and CPEC will benefit both Pakistan and China economically. The One Belt One Road initiative would bring competition as well as stability between both the nations. It will not only improve infrastructure but also total export at large. The major task is based on five points. 1st is the policy communication, 2nd is the facility of connectivity, 3rd is regarding unlimited trade, 4th deals with mutual financing and the 5th considers strong people to people contact. If the two countries are devoid of indigenous connectivity, we will not be benefitting ourselves with the maximum potential enshrined in CPEC. They need to understand each other. They need to know their similarities as well as the differences so that they form the habit of respecting each other. In this respect, they will be able to explore their challenges mutually while influencing factors regarding their relationship in a positive manner. Most of the issues can be solved easily through academic, social and cultural exchanges and with also people to people contact between the two countries not only at the state level but also at an individual. The world is changing its dynamics and the China and Pakistan have a specific and unique role in the world generally and in the region at large. Both the countries enjoy the peculiarity of their own cultural values and abilities to face the change, in this regard, a famous Chinese scholar says “Everyone respect one’s own culture and values. If we respect others’ culture and values, the world will be full of hope”. 

However, there are cultural differences between the two nations and an acute sense of understanding regarding those cultural differences is very important. Pakistan is home to 200 million people contrary to 1.35 billion that of China. For cultural interaction and cultural affinity, the civilization of China has to be more sensitive towards the cultural adequacies of Islamic civilization. The significance of the promotion of China-Pakistan socio-cultural exchanges and people to people contact has increased.


Hall view of roundtable discussion.
It will be better to enhance educational exchanges first which is the basic level. This level will disseminate a greater sense of opportunities regarding mutual understanding. Propagation of cultural affinity at student level deserves pivotal importance. In this respect, a high level of mutual confidence is required. It is really a good omen that Chinese students used to study in various universities of Pakistan. Both the governments are advised to invest heavily in the field of education while establishing world-class educational institutions under mutual operational capacity. It will help a great deal in achieving mutual recognition regarding educational qualification between both the nations. Moreover, collaboration in significant areas like that of language and culture is of pivotal importance. Another significant area is the establishment of vocational education institutes across Pakistan in the wake of world’s largest credible project CPEC. Because a large number of skilled workers will be needed soon to drive the project up to its maximum potential.

The academic contribution is considered as an ignored area with respect to other developmental areas. Humans are more important than projects. Up to May, 2017, Chinese institutions which officially set up Pakistan Research Centre include only seven special research institutions: Tsinghua University Pakistan Cultural Transmission Research Centre, Peking University Pakistan Research Centre, Sichuan University Pakistan Research Centre, Fudan University Pakistan Research Centre, Jiangsu Normal University Pakistan Research Centre, China West Normal University Pakistan Research Centre, Yunnan Nationalities University Pakistan Research Centre. In addition to above seven special research institutions, comparatively minimal number of scholars in other universities and scientific research institutions pay attention to jointly composed China’s Pakistan research team. Similarly, in Pakistan, a recent increase in academic and cultural studies was witnessed but still, it needs to be strengthened. Therefore, there is a dire need to establish and improve existing volume of Pakistan-China academic cooperation. It will help a great deal in further strengthening the already an unshakable relationship. In Pakistan, China Study Centre aims to promote cooperation in the field of science and technology. Various projects have been visualized by joint coordination with Chinese universities. A team of seven artists was warmly welcomed in Chinese universities. Another effort by the centre is the introduction of the Chinese way of flying a kite which is less dangerous as compared to the Pakistani way. Hundreds of kites were imported from China in order to celebrate Pak-China kite festival at China Study Centre. In addition, mass singing of Chinese anthem at China Study Centre is another feather in the centre’s cap. This singing has the privilege of first such kind in the history of Pakistan.


Hall view of roundtable discussion.
A large number of Buddhist antiques and sculptures are present in different museums of Pakistan including Taxila Museum, Lahore Museum, Peshawar Museum, Dir Museum and Karachi Museum which is a treasure encompassing wonders not only for the Chinese tourists but for the researchers belonging to the field of archaeology. These assets are not only promoting tourism in Pakistan but also providing a chance of interaction between the two peoples.

Being the fourth pillar, Media play a very significant role in the development and prosperity of a nation. Chinese are advised to develop their own news agencies along with independent TV networks operating multilingual news along with encompassing a global reach. It will help a great deal in dealing with prevailing propagandas geo-politically against this historic friendship.

Although there exists healthy exchange of academicians, scholars, analysts, as well as researchers yet the up gradation of future prospects of socio-cultural and academic cooperation, is the need of the hour in concordance with the changing geopolitical scenario.

Interactive Session:Pak China Relations: Academic & Socio-Cultural Perspective


Participants asking questions in interactive session
A fruitful discussion took place in interactive session it is summarized as follows:

People of China consider the folks of Pakistan their best friends. CPEC is a game changer which will benefit both countries of China and Pakistan. Pakistani students are under education in various departments of Chinese universities and their numbers have increased substantially after CPEC. They are being provided full time scholarships and other educational facilities. Although different academic scholars, analysts and students visit both sides thus enhancing future prospects of socio-cultural and academic relationship, but considering the capacity on both sides, a lot of work need to be done.

 

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China-Pakistan Energy Corridor By Brig (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

China-Pakistan Energy Corridor

Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

 

 

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Establishment of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was first proposed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his visit to Pakistan in May 2013. Li stated, Our two sides should focus on carrying out priority projects in connectivity, energy development and power generation”. At that time, Pak-China bilateral trade had reached $12 billion. The proposed project of linking Kashgar in northwest China with Gwadar Port on southwestern Arabian Sea coastline in Baluchistan was approved on July 5, 2013 during the visit of PM Nawaz Sharif to Beijing, which included construction of 200 km long tunnel. In December 2013, China committed $6.5 billion for the construction of a major nuclear power project in Karachi. In May 2014, another agreement was signed to start Orange Line metro train project in Lahore worth $1.27 billion. In November 2014, the two countries signed 19 agreements related to CPEC. In addition, Chinese firms started work on six mega power projects in Gilgit-Baltistan such as Dassu, Phandar, Bashu, Harpo, Yalbo to tackle Pakistan’s energy crisis.  

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Originally scheduled to come on September 14-16 last year, China’s President Xi Jinping’s visit was postponed in the wake of prolonged anti-government protests in Islamabad and security concerns, and the government not wanting anything untoward happening. Postponement of the visit was seen by the government as a big setback since it entailed investment of $26 billion in Pakistan. Onus of postponement was squarely put on the shoulders of those indulging in futile dharna politics. This setback was not an ordinary one when seen in the backdrop of worst ever energy crisis, economy in shambles, state corporations in decay and all economic indicators in negative – thanks to the inglorious five-year rule of PPP led coalition. Cash-strapped Pakistan struggling to finance energy projects from western donors couldn’t afford a single day delay.

Operation Zarb-e-Azb which started in mid June 2014 in North Waziristan after the brazen terror attack on Jinnah airport in Karachi and peace talks having fallen apart was put in top gear after the gruesome tragedy in Peshawar Army Public School on December 16, 2014. Its scope was spread all over the country and cooperation with Afghanistan was greatly improved. Rangers-Police intelligence based targeted operation in Karachi was also speeded up and so was Frontier Corps-Police operation in Baluchistan. These efforts were backed by National Security Policy, Counter Terrorism Policy, Joint Intelligence Directorate to coordinate efforts of 33 intelligence agencies, formation of Counter Terrorism Force at federal and provincial levels, lifting of moratorium on hanging of convicts, setting up of military courts and focussed 20-point National Action Plan, all in a bid to eliminate the scourge of terrorism.

Brilliant successes against terrorism and extremism, which raised the stature of Pak Army backed by air force very high among the international comity, helped in further enhancing the confidence of China’s leadership in Pakistan. Well aware of Indo-US encirclement plan and shifting of Ameica’s pivot to Asia-Pacific to contain China, the latter wanted an early opening into world market to become an unchallenged economic giant as well as the super power. Mindful of the under developemnt of its western province which is its soft belly and ongoing Uighur movement, China wants speedy modernisation of Xingjiang to bring it at par with eastern provinces. For the accomplishment of these dreams, China needs access to warm waters in Arabian Sea through Gwadar since this route is the shortest and the cheapest. This access was never granted to Russia. With this objective in view, President Xi Jinping undertook a visit to Islamabad and pleasantly surprised the Pakistanis by raising the level of investment from $ 26 billion to $ 45 Billion in Pakistan.

Pakistanis opened their hearts to welcome the worthy guest. During his two-day historic visit (April 20-21, 2015), President Xi signed 51 agreements/MoUs worth $28 billion, with $17 billion in pipeline spread over 15 years. His visit achieved the milestone of the groundbreaking of historic 3,000 km-long strategic China-Pakistan-Energy-Corridor (CPEC). It includes $ 18 billion worth energy projects such as coal, solar, hydroelectric power projects which will inject 10,400 MW electricity in the national grid by 2017/18, laying down fibre optic cable from Xingjiang to Rawalpindi, 1240 km long Karachi-Lahore motorway, metro and bus service in six major cities, up gradation of 1300 km long Karakorum Highway (first opened in 1978), oil/gas pipelines, commercial sea-lanes and host of other projects.

The CPEC project will include building new roads, a 1,800-km railway line and a network of oil pipelines to connect Kashgar in China’s western Xinjiang region to the seaport of Gwadar. It includes a string of energy projects, special economic zones, dry ports and other infrastructure. China is helping Pakistan in producing plutonium at Chinese built Khushab reactor and will also sell 8 submarines worth $5 billion, which will give a quantum jump to Pak Navy’s sea capability.

Gwadar, once a part of Oman before it was sold to Pakistan in 1958, is one of the least developed districts in Balochistan province. It sits strategically near the Persian Gulf and close to the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 per cent of the world’s oil passes. Work on Gwadar deep-seaport had started in 2002 with China’s investment. In 2013, management of the seaport which was in the sloppy hands of Singapore PSA International was handed over to China’s Port Holdings. It is planned to develop Gwadar into free trade zone with a modern airport on the model of Singapore or Hong Kong and a gateway to CPEC. Some analysts perceive Gwadar port turning into China’s naval base in the Indian Ocean, enabling Beijing to monitor Indian and American naval activities and thus frustrating their ambition to convert the ocean into exclusive Indian lake. Modernization of Pak Navy by China is seen as a step in that direction.

 

 

Energy-poor Pakistan certainly seems to have found a saviour in China, which has promised to stand by the country in its dark hour (parts of the country suffer power cuts for up to 18 hours a day). Jubilant President Mamnoon Hussain predicted that the economic corridor will be a “monument of the century” benefitting “billions of people” in the region. Analysts believe that the CPEC has the potential to radically alter the regional dynamics of trade, development and politics. They say the projects conceived under CPEC will ease Pakistan’s energy shortages and make a substantial difference in the long term with both generation and transmission covered. Some experts opine this initiative can bring greater cohesion in South Asia, one of the world’s least economically integrated regions. Adil Najam, Dean of the Boston University Pardee School of Global Studies, believes anything that binds the region together is “a good idea” since countries tend to focus on “zero-sum geostrategic posturing” rather than recognising the benefits of integration. MNA Ahsan Iqbal says “CPEC is a game changer for the entire region and will uplift the lives of about 3 billion people across China, Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East.

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While the CPEC may be ‘monumental’ for Pakistan, for China it is part of more ambitious plans to beef up the country’s global economic muscle. Chinese officials describe the corridor as the “flagship project” of a broader policy — “One Belt, One Road” — which seeks to physically connect China to its markets in Asia, Europe and beyond. This initiative includes the New Silk Road which will link China with Europe through Central Asia and the Maritime Silk Road to ensure a safe passage of China’s shipping through the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. China is not building the corridor as an act of charity for Pakistan. It will happily fund and build any structure that plays into this goal – whether we’re talking about roads or ports”,  says Michael Kugelman, a senior associate at the Washington DC based Woodrow Wilson Centre. Access to Indian Ocean via Gwadar will enable China’s naval warships and merchant ships to bypass Malacca Strait.    

 

 

 

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At the same time, the new silk roads are bound to intensify ongoing competition between India and China –and to a lesser extent between China and the US – to invest in and cultivate influence in the broader Central Asian region. Kugelman stated, India has long had its eyes on energy assets in Central Asia and Afghanistan, even as China has gobbled many of these up in recent years. The US has announced its own Silk Road initiative in the broader region. India is concerned about China’s huge investment in Pakistan, particularly its recent decision to fund a new batch of nuclear reactors. Pakistan plans to add four new nuclear plants by 2023, funded by China, with four more reactors in the pipeline (adding up to a total power capacity of 7,930 MW by 2030). India and other detractors of Pakistan are propagating that China is supplying nuclear technology to Pakistan in defiance of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) guidelines, which forbid nuclear transfer to Pakistan as it has not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. China argues that these projects were agreed with Pakistan before it became a member of NSG in 2004.

Pakistan has remained under a dark star for a long period; it has bravely sailed past the period of trials and tribulations but at a very heavy cost. Pakistan has acted as the frontline state against the Soviets and against global terrorism and suffered enormously, but in the process it allowed China 35 free years to develop and prosper. Landmark CPEC has further cemented Pak-China relations and made them natural allies. China’s liberal investment which surpasses all foreign investments in Pakistan in the past are based on trust, confidence and convergence of interests and both are in a win-win cooperation. The all-weather, time-tested friends share common vision and seek peace and not confrontation. They have entered into a new era of geo-economic relationship and plan to boost two-way trade to $20 billion.

The Silk Road Economic Belt will not only connect and develop China and Pakistan but also the regional countries for the first time and promote peace. It has opened vista of great opportunities for Pakistan and will greatly help in poverty alleviation, overcome unemployment, remove inequities of smaller provinces and help Pakistan in becoming the next Asian tiger. Strategic economic moment for Pakistan has arrived and interesting part is that Pakistan has assumed the position of economic pivot for the whole region. This paradigm shift in circumstances is a cause of great worry for the enemies of Pakistan both within and outside. They have put their heads together to work out new strategies how to block the forward march, but time and tide is not in their favor.  

The writer is a retired Brig/defence analyst/columnist/author of five books, Member Executive Council PESS, Director Measac Research Centre, Director Board of Governors TFP. asifharoonraja@gmail.com

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

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TARIQUE NIAZI: WHY IS JF 17 THUNDER A REAL THREAT TO PAKISTAN’S ENEMIES? THUNDER IN SINO-PAKISTAN RELATIONS

TARIQUE NIAZI: WHY IS JF 17 THUNDER A REAL THREAT TO PAKISTAN’S ENEMIES?

THUNDER IN SINO-PAKISTAN RELATIONS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why is JF-17 Thunder a Real Threat by dm_50d9ab0679d41

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jf-17 Thunder Block 2THUNDER IN SINO-PAKISTANI RELATIONS

PUBLICATION: CHINA BRIEF VOLUME: 6 ISSUE: 5

December 31, 1969 07:00 PM Age: 43 yrs
By: Tarique Niazi, PAKISTAN THINK TANK ARCHIVES

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1951, Sino-Pakistani relations have steadily deepened, and the two countries have never had a public disagreement over any bilateral, regional, or global issue. If there was any wrinkle in their mutual relations, it was amicably resolved in private, outside the view of the world’s eye. The key to this closeness has been the frequency of highest-level contacts between the two countries, which yielded unprecedented results. A case in point is the Chinese premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Pakistan in April last year, which led to the signing of the “Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Good Neighborly Relations” (Dawn, April 6, 2005). The treaty binds both signatories to desist from joining “any alliance or bloc which infringes upon the sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity of the other side” (Ibid.).

 

Similarly, General Musharraf’s third state visit to Beijing on February 19-23, which was a week apart from President Bush’s planned visit to South Asia in March, further strengthened the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Good Neighborly Relations. On February 20, China and Pakistan signed 13 agreements in Beijing, while President Hu Jintao and General Musharraf remained present at the signing ceremony. Of these, agreements on defense production, particularly the manufacture of multi-role JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft, nuclear power generation, and strategic infrastructure-building, including the widening of the Karakorum Highway, are critically important to the future direction of Islamabad’s relations with Beijing.

 

Joint Defense Production: JF-17s

 

Nothing explains Pakistan’s Sino-centric relations better than its defense and strategic ties with Beijing. Since the 1970s, these relations have continued to deepen and widen with progressive expansion in defense cooperation. Joint defense production, however, peaked in the 2000s. Today, all three branches of the Pakistani military—land, air and navy (in that order)—are equipped with Chinese weapons systems. Taxila Heavy Industrial Complex, situated near Islamabad, was the first seed of mutual collaboration that sprouted to branch off into building components for air defense. As a result, a state-of-the-art Aeronautical Complex was built at Kamra, a small town in Attock district of the Punjab province. Most recently, Beijing has offered Islamabad a helping hand in building two frigates at its naval base in Karachi, which will be a landmark breakthrough in their joint naval defense production as well. General Musharraf, at the conclusion of his five-day visit to Beijing, declared that “defense relations have been the bedrock of Sino-Pakistan relations” (Dawn, February 25). The hallmark of their decades-long defense collaboration, however, is the joint production of JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft, which General Musharraf described as a “great success.” He favorably compared JF-17s with the U.S. Air Force’s F-16 fighter jets “in platform engine, maneuverability, avionics and capability of carrying various modern weapon systems” (Ibid.).

 

JF-17s are being manufactured in Chengdu, capital of China’s Sichuan province. In 1999, Chengdu Aircraft Industry Company (CATIC) signed an agreement with the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) for joint production of JF-17s. Since then, CATIC, Chengdu Aircraft Designing Institute and the PAF have been working on this project. They rolled out the prototype of JF-17 on September 3, 2003, the test-flight of which satisfied both Chinese and Pakistani pilots. Almost two-and-a-half years later, General Musharraf watched the demonstration flight of the aircraft on February 22 when he visited Chengdu, Sichuan, which is China’s center of high-tech defense production. General Musharraf was so impressed by the manufacture of JF-17s that he had a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between China and Pakistan to declare Sichuan and Punjab (Pakistan’s most populous province that predominantly contributes “manpower” to the country’s three services) as “sister provinces” (Dawn, February 22). Pakistan is now celebrating JF-17s as worthy substitutes for F-16s.

 

Although Pakistan did receive 40 F-16s from the U.S. in the 1980s and is expected to receive an additional 80 F-16s this year, it still faces problems in their maintenance and service as its access to spare parts and manufacture technology is highly regulated (Dawn, February 25). This is what, Pakistan thinks, makes the U.S. an “unreliable” arms supplier, pushing Islamabad into the instinctive embrace of Beijing, which it considers an “all-weather friend” (Daily Times, February 24). Since 9/11, the U.S., however, has taken important measures to rebuild Pakistan-U.S. relations into longer-lasting cooperation. A case in point is Pakistan’s upgraded status as a major non-NATO ally of the U.S. to the perceptible unease of India, its arch rival. Yet Pakistan views such steps as symbolic as compared to the emerging strategic partnership between India and the U.S.

 

Nuclear Power Production

 

Pakistan is especially wary of the Indo-U.S. agreement on the transfer of nuclear power technology to Delhi, which is expected to be finalized during President Bush’s visit to India later this week. Since the signing of the Indo-U.S. nuclear agreement on July 18, 2005, when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a state visit to the U.S., Pakistan has been lobbying the U.S. to allow it the same access to nuclear power technology, but to no avail. It is not just the ruling Republican Party in the U.S. that is averse to providing Islamabad with nuclear reactors; leaders of the Democratic Party are even more adamant on this issue. Senator John Kerry, who visited Pakistan this year on January 14-15, told a news conference in Islamabad: “India is a democracy and it has adhered to the non-proliferation agreement in all the years of its involvement with nuclear facilities. This is not yet true of Pakistan, though Pakistan is moving in that direction” (The Hindu, January 16). Pakistan is, nevertheless, pursuing a plan to generate 8,000 MW of electrical power from nuclear fuel by 2020, an ambitious plan that makes it look to Beijing for support.

 

Beijing has already provided Islamabad a 300-MW nuclear reactor (Chashma-I), which is sited in a small town—Chashma—of the Punjab province. Beijing has now agreed to provide another nuclear power plant—Chashma-II—which will be sited next to Chashma-I. It will take five years before Chashma-II becomes operational. In addition, Pakistan is in talks with Beijing to buy six to eight nuclear power reactors of 600 MW each over the next decade (Press Trust of India, January 3). If the talks are successful, Pakistan will buy a number of nuclear reactors at the cost $10 billion to produce 4,800 MW of electricity. Pakistan’s current production of nuclear power is just 425 MW (Ibid.). Although Pakistan denies any such talks, it did sign an agreement with Beijing on February 20 to further “deepen cooperation in peaceful application of nuclear power.” In addition, Pakistan and China signed an “energy cooperation framework agreement,” which will explore the possibility of a gas pipeline between Iran and China through Pakistan (Dawn, February 22).

 

Strategic Infrastructure: the Karakorum Highway

 

Besides, China and Pakistan are engaged in building key strategic infrastructures to further strengthen their defense ties. The construction of the Karakorum Highway (KKH)—which connects western China and its largest autonomous region of Xinjiang with Pakistan’s Northern Areas (NAs) all the way through Islamabad—was the first such major project. Since its completion in the 1970s, the Karakorum Highway has been used for limited trade and travel, however. In harsh winters, the stretch running through the Northern Areas and Xinjiang becomes unusable for motorized traffic due to heavy snowfall. Chinese and Pakistani engineers have since been trying to render it into an all-weather passageway. Yet limited trade and travel remained a poor incentive for such an expensive undertaking, until its renewed strategic significance became all too apparent in recent days. In a strict strategic sense, KKH is considered priceless. It gives Beijing unhindered access to Jammu and Kashmir in India, in addition to enabling it to the India’s movement along Aksai Chin, which China seized from India in 1962, severing India’s land-link to China’s turbulent autonomous regions of Tibet and Xinjiang. For Pakistan, the KKH is an added security for its turbulent Northern Areas, all the way up to Siachin where Indian and Pakistani troops have been in a stand-off since the mid-1980s.

 

On February 20, China and Pakistan agreed to widen KKH for larger vehicles with heavier freight. The rebuilding of KKH will enable China to ship its energy supplies from the Middle East from Gwadar Port in Baluchistan through the land route of KKH to western China, which is its development hub. This alternative energy supply route will reduce Beijing’s dependence on the Malacca Straits. General Musharraf also wants to set up a “crude transit route” through Gwader Port for Beijing’s energy shipments from Iran and Africa. For this reason, Pakistan is building oil refineries, natural gas terminals, oil and gas equipment, and transit facilities in Baluchistan. China has agreed to help Pakistan with its plans for the development of its oil and gas industry. With this planned elaborate energy infrastructure, KKH has assumed an added significance as an alternative land link between China and its energy sources, of which Iran sits atop.

 

Beijing and Tehran are now all set to sign a $100 billion agreement on developing Iran’s Yadavaran oil field in southern Iran as early as March this year (Reuters, February 17). Under this agreement, China will buy 10 million tons of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from Iran each year over the next 25 years. KKH would be the shortest and safest land route to ship Iranian LNG to western China. In return for LNG, China will develop the Yadavaran oil field, which is estimated to have three billion barrels of oil and is expected to produce about 300,000 barrels of oil per day, which is equivalent to China’s current imports from Iran (Ibid.). General Musharraf wants to turn Pakistan into China’s “energy corridor” for Chinese energy imports from the Middle East, Persian Gulf and Africa (Daily Times, February 18). He also wants Pakistan to be China’s “trade corridor” for its exports to Central Asia. For the latter reason, Pakistan has recently built the Torkham-Jalalabad road in northwestern Pakistan (i.e., Pakhtunkhaw province) and Chaman-Kandahar railroad link in Baluchistan to carry Chinese manufactured goods to Central Asia through Afghanistan.

 

China generously recognizes General Musharraf’s contribution to forging even closer relations between Beijing and Islamabad. It also wants Pakistan to play a bigger role in the region, for which General Musharraf has asked Beijing to upgrade Pakistan’s observer status at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to full membership. China will notify all SCO member states of Pakistan’s request to consider it at the SCO’s scheduled summit meeting this year (Dawn, February 20). To honor his contribution and his visit to Beijing, China put General Musharraf’s face on its postage stamps, which is a rare gesture even by Chinese standards.

 

Conclusion

 

Defense and strategic ties are the bedrock of Sino-Pakistan relations, which are too solid for any hint of weakness. Their ambitious future agenda for high-tech defense production (such as JF-17s and Frigates), nuclear power generation, and strategic infrastructure building (such as KKH and deep-sea Gwader Port) will further energize their ties. Although Sino-Pakistan relations have flourished under all military governments in Islamabad, General Musharraf has taken them to even greater heights by signing a territorial defense treaty in April last year, and literally and metaphorically putting (JF-17) “thunder” in Sino-Pakistan relations.

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The Pakistan-China strategic partnership

 

The Pakistan-China strategic partnership

Courtesy: Dr. Rashid Ahmad Khan, China.org.cn

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The leaderships of Pakistan and China realize the need to provide a solid base to already strong Pakistan-China friendship that goes beyond bilateral trade and economic cooperation and promotes cultural relations and people-to-people contacts. 

 

Please visit:http://www.nihao-salam.com/

 

The leaderships of Pakistan and China realize the need to provide a solid base to already strong Pakistan-China friendship that goes beyond bilateral trade and economic cooperation and promotes cultural relations and people-to-people contacts. Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani’s recent visit to China and his address at Taihu World Cultural Forum are clear pointers in this direction.

Pakistan-China friendship derives its strength from shared common interests in promoting peace, development and stability in the region and adherence to the principles of sovereign equality, mutual respect, mutual benefit, cooperation and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. Despite having the world’s largest population and its second largest economy, China has never treated Pakistan as its junior partner. During the last two decades, China’s profile as a world power has risen phenomenally. Its relations with the United States, Japan, and European Union, and even with India, have broadened dramatically. But China has never allowed its relations with other countries to affect its friendship with Pakistan.

Pakistan was the first Muslim, and the third non-communist, country to accord diplomatic recognition to China in 1951. Since then, bilateral relations between Pakistan and China have continued to grow, encompassing defence, security, trade, economic cooperation, energy, infrastructure, water management, mining, agriculture, education, transport, communications, science and technology.

China replaced the United States as Pakistan’s principal source for arms and weapons when Washington imposed military sanctions on Pakistan in 1965 and 1990. China has assisted Pakistan in developing its nuclear and conventional defence capabilities which have enhanced Pakistan’s strength in South Asia’s strategic balance. When the United States imposed sanctions against Pakistan in 1990 because of its nuclear weapons development program, China supplied Pakistan with military hardware including 34 short-range ballistic missiles. Recent sales of Chinese conventional weapons to Pakistan include JF-17 aircraft along with production facilities, F-22P frigates with helicopters, K-8 jet trainers, T-85 tanks, F-7 aircraft, small arms and ammunition.

According to latest reports, Pakistan is seeking to buy 36 J-10 aircraft, which would make Pakistan the first recipient of one of the most advanced weapon systems in China’s arsenal. The addition of 36 J-10 aircraft would enable Pakistan Air Force (PAF) to raise two fighter squadrons and further sharpen its combativeness. The sale of the J-10 aircraft signals the depth of Pakistan-China strategic partnership. This partnership reflects close cooperation between the two countries in high-tech production and joint defence projects. The mainstay of China-Pakistan joint defence production is the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in Kamra, where servicing, assembly and manufacturing of fighter and trainer aircraft is carried out.

China has also built a turnkey ballistic missile manufacturing facility near Rawalpindi and helped Pakistan develop the 750 km range solid-fueled Shaheen-I ballistic missile. Pakistan and China have also signed an agreement under which China will construct four submarines for Pakistan Navy. A significant aspect of China’s military aid is that it involves the transfer of technology to Pakistan.

With Chinese help, Pakistan has built two nuclear reactors at Chashma, and during President Zardari’s first visit in 2008, China pledged to help Pakistan construct two new nuclear reactors at Chashma. The two nuclear power plants will generate 640 megawatts of power and will help overcome the critical energy crisis in Pakistan. The project is a part of Government of Pakistan’s Vision 2030, which includes plans for generating 8000 megawatts of power from nuclear plants.

 
 

Pakistan and China share a rare unanimity of views on regional and international issues and the two countries enjoy a robust relationship in the defence, political and diplomatic fields. However, the extent of relationship in these areas is not reflected in economic and commercial ties.

Realizing the need to expand trade and economic relations, the two countries have taken initiatives to promote cooperation through investment and joint projects. As a result, economic cooperation between Pakistan and China has shown spectacular progress during the last 10-15 years. Between 2000 and 2010 the volume of bilateral trade grew sevenfold. The two sides plan to increase trade to $10 billion within five years. But that is still far below the potential figure. Currently Chinese companies are working on 250 projects in Pakistan. Some of these are mega projects jointly undertaken by Pakistan and China, including the Thar coal project, the Bhasha Dam, the widening of Karakoram Highway, the Gwader deep sea port and the Saindak gold and copper project.

During Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s recent visit to Pakistan, he was accompanied by 260 Chinese business executives. During the visit the two sides concluded deals worth $35 billion. The agreements covered the energy sector, bilateral trade, exploration of natural resources and development of the agriculture, livestock, finance and banking sectors. An important achievement of Premier Wen’s visit was the signing of a MoU between China’s Three Gorges Corporation and Pakistan’s Alternative Energy Development Board for a joint venture on wind power and solar energy projects. The Joint Statement issued at the end of Premier Wen’s visit talked of the determination to “enhance their strategic coordination, advance pragmatic cooperation and work together to meet challenges in pursuit of common development.”

One of the most significant signals of long term strategic partnership is the Gwader deep sea port built with Chinese technical and financial help. Gwader lies at the mouth of the Persian Gulf – the source of 40 percent of the world’s oil. The port will allow China to secure oil and gas supplies from the Persian Gulf and project its power in the Indian Ocean. China has financed 80 percent of the $300 million cost, and is also funding the construction of a rail-road network connecting China with the port through Central Asia and Pakistan, turning Pakistan into an energy and trade corridor for China. The oil and gas supply line through Pakistan is a safer, shorter and cheaper alternative route to the Malacca Straits, which is vulnerable to attacks by pirates and passes through a region dominated by the United States. The importance of Gwader for China can be gauged from the fact that China is the largest consumer of oil after the United States. Its consumption is expected to double by 2025 with 70 percent coming from the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. Gwader offers the closest access point to these regions for China. Gwader will provide an overland energy corridor to the western Chinese region of Xinjiang, shortening the journey by 12000 miles. The route will also bring substantial benefits to Pakistan, making it one of the region’s largest energy players. According to one estimate, Pakistan will be earning $60 billion a year in transit fees in 20 years time.

There is vast potential for deepening the Pakistan-China strategic partnership. The current trends in relations show a greater focus on promoting cultural exchanges, people-to-people contacts, and expanding trade and investment ties and economic cooperation. This will, in turn, further strengthen the security and defence links between the two countries, which are a firm guarantee for peace and security in the region.

Dr. Rashid Ahmad Khan is a professor and chairman of the Department of International Relations/Political Science and also dean, Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences and Law, University of Sargodha-Pakistan.

 

 

 

 

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