By: Syed Ali Nawaz Gilani
21st May 2020 will be 69th Anniversary day of establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries in May 1951, China and Pakistan have developed an exemplary all-season friendship which was based on equality, brotherhood and overall cooperation. In the past 69 years, the two countries have carried out multi-dimensional cooperation in varied fields. Despite unstable international situation, the China-Pakistan friendship remained strong and vibrant. Recent past years specially last after the two high level state visits from China in 2013 & 2015, have witnessed a frequent exchange of visits between the leadership of the two countries which further promoted cooperation.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said on terms special friendship between Pakistan and China was choice of the history as it had deep roots in the hearts of people of the two countries.“We want to see a united and strong Pakistan with stability and prosperity,” he said during a meeting with President Dr Arif Alvi here at the Great Hall of People. President Xi said no matter how international landscape might change, China would always stand firmly by Pakistan. “China will stay committed to our ironclad friendship and will expand our strategic cooperation.”President Xi said China backed Pakistan in stepping up its constructive role in regional and international affairs. He said when China was fighting against the outbreak, the Pakistani government and people did their level best to make donations to China to which he expressed heartfelt thanks.President Arif Alvi said he was visiting China to show solidarity with the people and the leadership of China while they were successfully fighting the Covid-19 outbreak.He said China had shown to the world its ability to deal with the challenge and set an example for other countries, which were facing the corona virus outbreak.
In the early years of establishment of the Sino-Pakistan diplomatic relations, Pakistan remained inactive as it was an ally of the West. The period between 1957 and 1969 witnessed an important phase in the history of the Sino-Pakistan relations. During this period, historical changes took place in bilateral relations, which changed the lukewarm attitude of Pakistan. This gesture opened a new chapter in the relationship and in the 1970s; steady developments were made to strengthen friendly cooperation between the two governments and their people. Since 1990, drastic changes have taken place on the international horizon; however, China and Pakistan has further developed.
The success & strengthening of these relationship also remembered the important role started from His Excellency Mr. Han Nian Long first Chinese Ambassador
who served from 1951-54 till to Widely respected & friendly Ambassador Yao Jing who assumed the office in November 2017 likewise Pakistan first Ambassador H. E. Maj. Gen. Nawabzada Agha Muhammad Raza from 1951 to 1954 till our present Ambassador Naghmana Hashmi Sahiba who took the office in 2019 while She also served as DCM in China from 2003-2007, She is doing a great to further strengthen these relationship & explore more avenues which is really need of the houre.
The Sino-Pakistan both plays a central role in Asia’s geopolitics, from India’s rise to the prospects for a post-American Afghanistan, from the threat of nuclear terrorism to the continent’s new map of mines, ports and pipelines. China is Pakistan’s great economic hope and its most trusted military partner. Pakistan lies at the heart of China’s geostrategic ambitions, from its take-off as a global naval power to its grand plans for a new silk road connecting the energy fields of the Middle East and the markets of Europe to the mega-cities of East Asia.
China and Pakistan have witnessed steady growth in mutual investments in recent years. In the last few years, China invested more than USD……. billion in Pakistan. A large number of Chinese companies are presently working in Pakistan in different sectors. Chinese goods are very much in demand in the Pakistani markets. Their experience of growth in trade is positive due to convenient trade flows and openness measures. China has become one of the top five import sources of Pakistan. Bilateral trade had reached around USD……. billion in 20`18 and is on the rise. The balance, however, is in favour of China due to lesser exports by Pakistan.
Tensions between the US and Pakistan over the presence of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, and a speedy US withdrawal from Afghanistan are likely to reinforce Sino-Pak ties. China is the only country that has taken a supportive stand for Pakistan after the Bin Laden operation.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 opened a new chapter of consultation and collaboration between China and Pakistan. The two countries were in total agreement that the Soviet military presence in Afghanistan posed a great threat to the security of the entire region and prepared to co-ordinate their policies to face the challenge. Support to Pakistan’s security was the major feature of China’s Afghan policy because they wanted to honour their often repeated commitments. Regarding recent developments in Afghanistan, China and Pakistan have a close understanding of each other’s point of view.
In the recent past, a 100-member youth delegation of Pakistan visited China for a week long visit. Chinese Government also regularly inviting youth & young people from various walks of life from Pakistan to visit China as a response, the Pakistani government also invited Chinese youths to Pakistan. Being launched in 2007, the youth exchange program is aimed at increasing mutual understanding between the people of the two countries.
There are many opportunities of collaboration between the two countries in the realm of higher education. The largest number of students of Pakistan are now studying in Pakistan. There is close cooperation between the Universities of China and Pakistan. High level delegations are reciprocally exchange visits. Recently A seminar on, “Pakistan and China Relations” was organized by China Study Centre University of Peshawar in July 2019. A delegation from China Embassy Islamabad under the leadership of Ms Bao Zhang, Director General Political & Media Affairs participated in the seminar.
Ms Bao Zhang while speaking said that China and Pakistan relations are higher than mountains, deeper than oceans and sweeter than honey. Pakistan and China are iron brothers. Pakistan and China relations became stronger when President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan in 2015. Pakistan supported China on many global and regional issues and appreciated the completion of early harvest projects of CPEC and optimistically underlined that the second phase of CPEC will boost industrialization in Pakistan. She also highlighted the important role of the business community in the economic development of the country. Ms Bao said that China has helped Pakistan to overcome its energy problem and recently it has also helped Pakistan in addressing the problem of forex reserves. Prof Dr Zahid Anwar, Director, China Study Centre, University of Peshawar said that came into existence, recently with the support of China Embassy Islamabad. The China Study Centre (CSC) endeavours to enrich understanding between China and Pakistan through research, learning, institutional linkages, and people to people contacts.
This is high time to properly utilize the services of various groups of Friends of China in Pakistan. In order to increase awareness for this friendly relationship among the youth of both countries, the vital role played by Pakistan-China Friendship Association, Listeners of Urdu Services from China Radio and the Urdu Department of Peking University must be appreciated for their result oriented efforts and to use these informal channels for further awareness.
As a part of 70th Anniversary of Founding of the People’s Republic of China last year 2019, the Pakistan-China Friendship Association – Khyber Chapter & Radio China Listener’s Club (a group of listeners of Urdu Service from CRI) organized many specially focused events to highlight the importance of the occasion,
The Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing along with Mr. Chen Xian-Director Pakistan CRI donated books to the Central Libray UoP in on behalf of the CRI. The book donation has led to the establishment of a Chinese Corner.. On daily basis hundreds of student come and take benefit from these books and get to know about the time tested relations that both the countries enjoy. The love of Amb. Yao Jing for this great alma mater of North of Pakistan is evident from the fact that he has visited several times to this institution since he has taken charge of the office. Ambassador visited the Institute of Peace & Conflict Studies and had a fruitful interaction with research students and galaxy of experts on Afghan affairs to share views on the afghan peace process and regional integration.
The Mass Media’s dynamic role Strengthening the Pak-China Relations & further understanding amoung the peoples of both countries can not be over looked and with each passing day their role become more and more vital like Urdu Service from China Radio International since August 1955 and recently successfully launching of FM 98-Dosti Channel with the cooperation of Radio Pakistan First in Islamabad, later Lahore & Karachi successfully improving the nobale cause of this examplery relations and as mentioned by Director CRI & FM-98 Dosti Mr. Chen with Urdu name Shaheen, proudly mentioned that FM-98 Dosti networks day by day increase across the country shows height of people to people heart to heart relationship. Director Urdu Service Section, China Radio International (CRI) Madam Zhao Qiao (Mahvesh –Urdu name) while speaking termed mass media a key player in widely spreading the message of BRI and CPEC’s. Ms Zhao Qiao said, Media significantly contributed in highlighting benefits of BRI and CPEC to regional countries and clearing the misconceptions about the vision. Mass Media informed people that through BRI’s economic cooperation and communication skills, Chinese leaders are determined to share their fruits of prosperity with regional countries. Director CRI Pakistan, Chen Xiang apprised that via FM 98 Dosti Radio Channel in Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi and Beijing’s Urdu Service in China have built a liaison to interact with the local community. Like wise print media and official news agencies of both Pakistan & China are doing great and updating their peoples about latest specially in recent past in COVID 19 all of them play their role in the best interest of masses which great appreciated. Recently, the government of China had also established China Media Group (CMG) headed by senior leader Mr. Shen Haixiong as First President of CMG, to provide in time and accurate information to the masses across the world. China Media Group would comprise the CCTV, China National Radio and China Radio International.
There is a lot of potential for trade between Pakistan and China. In the present geo-political and geo-strategic dynamics, Pakistan and China need each other more than ever. The economic ties between China and Pakistan need to be strengthened on a war footing and beyond rhetoric. We need to identify areas of priority, where mutual growth can take effect efficiently.
For example, China can practically guide Pakistan in increasing its economic growth rates just as it has doubled its GDP in a record 10 years, while it took USA almost 50 years, to achieve the same growth rate. It can provide technical assistance to Pakistan in policy and planning.
Furthermore, there should be a free and facilitated exchange of business persons between the two countries. Pakistani companies should be encouraged to develop joint ventures with multinational Chinese countries, which would help penetrate the Chinese market as well as the global market. These joint ventures will also help in transfer of technology, management skills and improve innovation in products and services.
China has vast and valuable experience in development of its agricultural sector. Pakistan can achieve monumental strides in development of its agricultural sector by following successful Chinese methodologies. Another very important area for cooperation from China is the education sector. Pakistan has a very high section of its population in the 15-24 age category, and the overall literacy rates are not very encouraging. China and Pakistan can form ‘sister universities’ for the promotion of education and research. China can offer some seats in its universities for deserving students and Pakistan can facilitate Chinese students likewise.
Finally, China’s influence as a growing economic power, can wield substantive support to Pakistan in the decisions of the international financial institutions. Such support can go a long way in helping Pakistan fight its way out of its financial distress, and in getting the desired foreign investment.
(The writer a Media Consultant, the President of Radio China Listener’s Club & Secretary-General Pakistan-China Friendship Association Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. President, Radio China Listener’s Club. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org)