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

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora