Of Mutual Trust, Friendship and Collaboration

This year, as China celebrated its 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Prime Minister Imran Khan and COAS visited China, reaffirming the special relationship between the two countries. The visit served as an assurance of extended support on issues concerning the core national interests of each other, including Kashmir issue and the CPEC. Of course, Pakistan and China’s bilateral relations are marked by mutual respect and strong people to people contact as both countries continue to support each other on important issues at the regional and international level.
Over time, the importance of this relationship has increased due to evolving regional and international environment. Through the years, the well-established Pak-China camaraderie has transformed into a strong strategic partnership with new arenas of exploring innovative economic opportunities, achieving congruence of interests and increasing people to people contacts. This model of connectivity has offered new opportunities for the collective prosperity of the region and beyond. The second phase of CPEC will serve the same purpose and promote industrial and socio-economic development in Pakistan while establishment of CPEC Authority would expedite the implementation of CPEC projects. As stated in the Pak-China joint press release following the visit, “The two sides agreed that early implementation of the Second Phase of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement would contribute to increase in bilateral trade.”
With the dynamics of international system constantly in flux and the rise of China as a global economic force and reassertion of Russia as a global player, the regional dynamics have seen a major change. In this evolving regional and global order, Pakistan and China find convergence of interests, priorities and methodologies to contribute to overall stability, prosperity and peaceful co-existence. As further stated in the joint press release, “Both sides expressed satisfaction over the close cooperation between the two countries at multilateral fora and resolved to deepen strategic coordination and consultation. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and support for multilateralism and win-win cooperation.” This strategic partnership between Pakistan and China affords both countries to not only tackle the hegemonic designs of hostile countries in the region but also positively contribute towards opening new avenues of regional economic integration, security cooperation, and strategic partnership with all.
Concerning regional issues, mainly the Afghan peace process and the Kashmir dispute, China’s stance and efforts hold importance as peace and stability in the region is vital for the regional stakeholders. China’s appreciation of Pakistan’s efforts in the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan and its reaffirmation of the mutual stance regarding the inclusive Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process is the key to bringing peace and stability in the country. When the Chinese side was briefed on the concerns, position and current urgent issues regarding the situation in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, China responded by saying, “It was paying close attention to the current situation in Jammu & Kashmir and reiterated that the Kashmir issue is a dispute left from history, and should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.”
Not only do the close ties and strategic partnership continue to serve the fundamental interests of the two countries, the two sides also maintain close exchange, strategic coordination and communication.  For sure, both these countries will continue to positively contribute towards peace, stability and development of the region while continuing their cooperation and support on key challenges at the global level.

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