News / Asia

Reeling After Osama, Pakistan Turns to Longtime Friend China

In this picture released by the Pakistan Navy, warships, including those from China, are welcomed at the Karachi dock to take part in the Multi-National Naval exercises 'AMAN 07' in Karachi, Pakistan (FILE).
In this picture released by the Pakistan Navy, warships, including those from China, are welcomed at the Karachi dock to take part in the Multi-National Naval exercises 'AMAN 07' in Karachi, Pakistan (FILE).

Multimedia

Audio
  • VOA's JulieAnn McKellogg's interview on Pakistan-China relations

Anti-terror allies Pakistan and the United States are struggling to mend their often uncomfortable relationship which has been strained by the secret U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottatad, Pakistan.  

Now, it appears Pakistan is looking to its northern neighbor, China, for support.

On Tuesday, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousef Gilani kicked off a four-day visit there, describing Beijing as Islamabad's "best and most trusted friend."  He also pointed out that China was the first country to show its solidarity with Pakistan after the killing of bin Laden.  

Mr. Gilani's trip was scheduled weeks ago to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Pakistan and China have always been close, says Dr. Ehtisham Ahmad, a senior research fellow at the London School of Economics' Asia Research Center. He explained why in an interview VOA's JulieAnn McKellogg.

"Initially, Pakistan was China’s sort of lifeline, and thee eyes and ears to the rest of the world. And they facilitated the break through with the Kissinger visit and then, the Nixon visit in the early 1970s. So they played a major role in the normalization of the relationship with the West and the United States, in particular. This relationship has been changing over time. It’s sort of cooled down a bit.

Listen to the interview with Dr. Ahmad here

I think it’s been revived in recent years as China has taken a more dominant economic role, and sees how Pakistan is not only an opening to the Middle East, providing access to the Port of Gauthier in particular, but also as a bulwark against perhaps India. And on Pakistan side, it has been a very close relationship and they have relied on the Chinese for technical assistance as well as financial support in times of crisis. Tey do see the Chinese perhaps as an ‘all-weather friend.'”

What does this mean for the United States, especially in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden?

"'Tthere is no way that China will supplant the United States despite the trust deficit, which now exists in the Pakistan-U.S. relationship, which is quite understandable. The United States is a major both military and economic purveyor of support to Pakistan, and I don’t think the Chinese can fully fill that role though the Pakistan government is obviously trying look to shore up its bases of support in the event that there is a complete breakdown in its relationship with the United States. I really don’t think it will come to that because the United States needs Pakistan and Pakistan needs the United States. It’s a marriage of convenience, in a sense. [Pakistani President Asif Ali] Zadari went to Moscow immediately following the bin Laden event. And now the prime minister is going to China. So they are really trying to see the alternative areas of support."

The U.S. and Pakistan have such a strong military relationship, but what about China and Pakistan? China has supplied weapons to Pakistan, and they also have a nuclear relationship.

"Yes, I believe that is the case. And the Chinese have seen Pakistan as sort of counterweight to other powers. I mean, the United States, India.  And there is no territorial dispute. I think Pakistan is the one country in the vicinity of China that they can totally rely on. So you they have sort of dubious relations with a number of there other neighbors: Koreans, Japanese, Vietnamese, Indians. They do see Pakistan as an opening to a very important part of the world, which is an opening to the oil-rich region of the Middle East. I would say it’s strategic convenience. You can think of it like a big aircraft carrier stationed in the Middle East."

What makes them so reliable?


"I think it’s a confluence of interests. They have got no sources of friction and they both need each other. I think if the United States' relationship is a marriage of convenience, this is one where they both want to cohabit in a sense. So, it’s both economic and military and strategic for both."

What does this mean for India? They are another key player. And the United States and India continue to strengthen their relationship.

"And the consequence of that is that China and Pakistan have strengthened their relationship, which had cooled down, you know, a few years ago when China started normalizing its relationship with India. I think in the long run, Pakistan needs to think about burying the hatchet with India. Sort of in the way China has with Taiwan. They had more fundamental disagreements with Taiwan, but the economic relations between China and Taiwan are actually rather good. Whereas Pakistan’s dispute with India is sort of over the line of control in Kashmir, which is trivial in comparison with the dispute between China and Taiwan; and yet, they are stuck in 1947, and the economic ties are nonexistent between India and Paksitan. I think in the long run, it’s in Pakistan’s interest to forge a better relationship with India."

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs