Pakistan is really proud of having very deep and all weather strategic and economic relations with China as a rising major economic and military world power. According to Focus Economics, economic Forecasts by the world’s Leading Economists, China’s economy has experienced astonishing growth in the last few decades that catapulted the country to become the world’s second largest economy. In 1978, when China started the program of economic reforms, the country ranked ninth in nominal gross domestic product (GDP) with USD 214 billion; 35 years later it jumped up to second place in the world with a nominal GDP of USD 9.2 trillion. For the last three decades, China’s overall economic growth rate has remained above 9 percent. China has experienced merchandise trade surpluses since 1993. Total trade multiplied by nearly 100 to USD 4.2 trillion in only three decades and, in 2013, China surpassed the United States as the world’s biggest trading nation. Due to favourable global trade conditions and China’s accession to the World Trade Organization in December 2001, the country has experienced an astonishing growth of 26.9% annually in real goods and services exports during the 2002-2008 period. China’s foreign exchange reserves had risen to almost $ 4 trillion in the first quarter of 2014.
China has achieved this remarkable economic progress because since 1978, it is pursuing a policy of its peaceful rise with a focus on its economic development and good relations with all neighbours, regional countries and other important world powers, but keeping its security related national interests intact.. To ensure its equally distributed economic development and military moderation, China is following the policy to keep peace in the neighbouring regions and at world level for the main reason that it is pursuing a policy of its peaceful rise with a focus on succeeding in its economic progress. In this context China is trying to advance its foreign relations mainly through economic diplomacy with emphasis on developing economic relations with other countries of the world including its neighbours.
China–Pakistan relations began in 1950 when Pakistan was among the first countries to end official diplomatic relations with the Republic of China or Taiwan and recognize the PRC.Since 1960s China and Pakistan are maintaining very close strategic partnership encompassing cooperation in the diplomatic, economic and defence fields, which is being further strengthened in the current times.While China supports Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir, Pakistan supports China on the issues of Xinjiang, Tibet, and Taiwan. The Chinese leadership has acknowledged Pakistan’s steadfast support on key issues. China has also consistent record of supporting Pakistan in regional issues. Pakistan has also served as China’s main bridge between Muslim countries. In the last 13 years of war on terror being fought by Pakistan as a front line state and Non NATO ally in Afghanistan, China has been providing very strong support in favour of Pakistan’s role and sacrifices rendered in fighting this war against the US and NATO pressures asking Pakistan to do more and more.
-Military cooperation has been deepened with joint projects producing armaments ranging from fighter jets, tanks, guided missiles and naval frigates. Chinese cooperation with Pakistan has also reached economic high points, with substantial Chinese investment in Pakistani. In 2014 Chinese Premier announced an investment package of $31.5 billion in Pakistan mainly to meet the country’s energy shortage, expansion of infrastructure and Gwadar port which will connect Pakistan with China and the Central Asian countries with highway connecting Kashgar to Khunjrab and Gwadar. Port. On 5 July 2013, Pakistan and China approved the Pakistan-China Economic corridor which will link Pakistan’s Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea and Kashghar in Xinjiang in northwest China.
In view of the above visit of the Chinese President’s to Pakistan from 20 to 21 April 2014 is of immense significance. If we look at the visit in the light of an Asia Pivot policy of the US, the US-India Strategic Partnership Agreement in place and recently signed Japan-India Defence Agreement, the visit assumes further importance. Chinese President is likely to announce an investment of $40 billion to be spent on Pakistan’s energy projects and construction of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor CPEC). During the visit China;s President is also expected to inaugurate the construction of the Economic Corridor.
China has recently pledged to invest nearly US 43 billion dollars in Pakistan to construct coal and nuclear power plants and China-Pakistan Economic corridor.
-China-Pakistan have free trade agreement. In 2013, trade between China and Pakistan hit a 12-month figure of $12 billion for the first time thus making China the second largest trade partner of Pakistan.
-Chinese President is visiting Pakistan on 9 April 2015. During his visit, apart from signing other agreements he will also lay the foundation stone of construction of Economic Corridor.
Published by Pakistan Observer on April 21, 2015
Disclaimer: Views expressed are of the writer and are not necessarily reflective of IPRI policy.