Pakistan-China Relations: Improvement in Security Domain within the 21st Century

China–Pakistan relations started in 1950 when Pakistan was among the primary nations to conclusion official political relations with the Republic of China (or Taiwan) and recognize the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government on Terrain China. Since at that point, both nations have set significant significance on the support of a greatly near and steady extraordinary relationship and the two nations have routinely traded high-level visits coming about in an assortment of understandings. The PRC has given financial, military, and specialized help to Pakistan, and each nation considers the other a near key partner.

Two-sided relations have advanced from a starting Chinese approach of nonpartisanship to an organization with a littler but militarily capable Pakistan. Conciliatory relations were built up in 1950, boundary issues settled in 1963, military help started in 1966, a vital union was shaped in 1972, and financial co-operation started in 1979. China has ended up Pakistan’s biggest provider of arms and its third-largest exchanging accomplice. China has given Pakistan an advance of US$60 million which was afterward made a give after East Pakistan broke absent. As of late, both countries have chosen to coordinate in making strides Pakistan’s respectful atomic control division.

Keeping up near relations with China could be a central portion of Pakistan’s remote arrangement. In 1986, President Muhammad Zia-Ul-Haq gone by China to move forward conciliatory relations, and Pakistan was one of as it were two nations, nearby Cuba, to offer significant back to the PRC after the Tiananmen Square dissents of 1989. China and Pakistan too share near military relations, with China providing a run of advanced deadly implements to the Pakistani resistance powers. China underpins Pakistan’s position on Kashmir, whereas Pakistan underpins China on the issues of Xinjiang, Tibet, and Taiwan. Military participation has developed, with joint ventures creating deadly implements extending from warrior planes to guided rocket frigates.

International Relation researchers have watched that in spite of the PRC and Pakistan being “exceedingly unique social orders and polities with clashing sees on central worldwide issues”, the two states have all things considered manufactured a energetic relationship over a few decades – something which underpins the thought that realpolitik propels outside approaches within the universal framework. Amin composes that relations between China and Pakistan “speaks to a striking and paradigmatic case of how state control contemplations, instead of culture, philosophy, financial intrigued or composition of administering elites, can decide remote approach behavior – as conceptualized by the neo-realist school of Universal Relations (IR) theory(Pakistan China Military Relations Wikipedia, n.d.).

Historical Perspective of Strategic Relations between Pakistan and China

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China-Pakistan: A Journey of Friendship (1950-2020)

Pakistan and China set up discretionary relations on May 21, 1951. The primary high-level official assignment gone by China fair after three months of freedom, on January 4, 1950. But the bonds of fellowship have gone back to centuries-old exchange relations, when Chinese dealers travel through Pakistan on their commerce trips to the Middle-East, Europe, and the rest of the world through old Silk Course. Over 2,000 a long time back celebrated figures such as the friars Fa Xian and Xuan Zang traveled through regions which are nowadays known as Pakistan. This relationship was built on the quality of progressive accomplishments and gets to be imposing with each passing day and year. The authority of both nations is committed to taking this relationship forward.

To understand the depth of this unique relationship, here is a glimpse of the milestones reached over the years(Pak China Friendship, n.d.):

•             1950 – Pakistan becomes the third non-communist country, and the first Muslim one, to recognize the People’s Republic of China and dispatched a high level delegation to China on January 4, 1950

•    1951 The two countries established formal diplomatic relations on May 21, 1951.

•             1955 Visit of Vice President Madam Song Ching Ling to Pakistan marked the first high level visit from Chinese side.

•             1956 Visit of Prime Minister H.S. Suhrawardy to China, was the first high level visit from Pakistan.

•             1963 Historic Visit of Foreign Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to China.  In 1963 Pakistan and China conclude boundary agreement through peaceful negotiations. Pakistan is the only and most friendly country in the neighborhood who has never had any difference of opinion or border dispute with China.

•             1964 Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) started its flights to Beijing, becoming the first non-communist country airline to fly from Beijing, entering into a new era of linkages between the two countries. Pakistan was the window for China to interact with the rest of world.

•    1965 Agreement on Cultural Cooperation signed, promoting understanding and harmony.

•             1970 Pakistan facilitates first visit by US President Nixon to China, paving way for the first-ever US-China official contact, leading toward the normalization of Sino-American relations.

•             1976 Agreement on Scientific and Cultural Cooperation signed, opening huge opportunities for Pakistani scientists and students.

•    1978 The Karakoram Highway, a construction miracle, linking mountainous Northern Pakistan with Western China officially opened, linking China to the Arabian Ocean.

•    1983 Pakistan and China sign MoU on Educational Exchanges, which led 32,000 Pakistani student studying in China today.

•             1989 The two countries sign an agreement on Reciprocal Encouragement and Protection of Investments. China is the largest investor in Pakistan.

•             1995 Agreement for Traffic in Transit is signed between the Governments of Pakistan, China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, opening avenues of transit trade with other central Asian states and whole of Eurasia.

•             1995 Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto visits China as a special guest to attend the 4th Women’s Conference in Beijing, bring the women of the two friendly nations close to each other.

•             1999 The contract to jointly develop and produce the JF-17 was signed, a landmark event for Pakistan’s defense Industry.

•             2001 Premier Zhu Rongji visits Pakistan on the occasion of 50 years of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations.

•             2001 China and Pakistan sign agreement on Tourism Cooperation, opening unlimited opportunities in the development of the tourism industry.

•             2003 Preferential Trade Agreement is signed between the two countries, providing market access to Pakistani exports.

•             2005 Bilateral MoU on Cooperation in Information Technology is concluded, with China leading and providing Pakistan with a huge opportunity to learn from Chinese achievements.

•             2005 Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visits Pakistan. In 2005 “Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Good Neighborly Relations” is signed between the two countries, further cementing ties of friendship.

•    2006 Chinese President Hu Jintao pays an official visit to Pakistan. In 2006 China and Pakistan sign Free Trade Agreement, leading toward enhanced exports to China.

•    2008 Pakistan welcomes the Chinese Olympic Torch in Islamabad

•    2010 Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visits Pakistan. In 2010 JF-17 inducted in Pakistan Air Force as backbone of our Air Force and already exporting to other countries.

•    2013 Premier Li Keqiang visits Pakistan in May and both sides issue a Joint Statement on

Deepening Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation, which became the basis of CPEC. In 2013 Pakistan and China sign the landmark Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation for the Long-term Plan on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship project of Chinese mega initiative in the BRI. In 2013 Pakistan awards a contract fo the construction and operation of the Gwadar Port to China. Gwadar will become the economic hub of world trade and economic activities after its completion in 2030. Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif visits China in 2013 and both sides agree to the Common Vision for Deepening China-Pakistan Strategic Cooperative Partnership in the New Era. Both countries sign Memorandum of Understanding in 2013 on the Cooperation of Developing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Long-term Plan and Actions, opening the flow of Chinese FDI and investment into Pakistan.

•    2014 the governments of Pakistan and China agree on the construction of the 27 km Orange Line metro train project in Punjab.

•             2015 The two countries celebrate 2015 as the Year of Friendly Exchanges 2015 – Trade between the two countries reaches US $16 billion. In 2015 Chinese President Xi Jinping undertakes a landmark visit to Pakistan, both countries signed over 50 documents including the agreement on CPEC outlining projects worth USD 46 billion. The pledged investment already raised USD 62 billion.

•             2016 The two countries celebrate the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. China-Pakistan unveils the Long-term Plan of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in 2016, paving the ways for further cooperation and collaboration.

•    2017 Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif attends the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing.

•             2018 Prime Minister Imran Khan pays a historic visit to China and both sides agree to further strengthen the All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership and jointly build Closer China-Pakistan Community of a Shared Future in the New Era.

•             2018 CPEC enters in its Second Phase, focused on social-economic development of Pakistan on a faster pace. Phase-II of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement was signed in 2018, facilitating Pakistani exports. Prime Minister Imran Khan attends the First China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai. A leading initiative of China for opening its markets to Pakistani products. In 2018 Groundbreaking of Rashakai Special Economic Zone was done, Pakistan launches Remote Sensing Satellite-1 (PRSS-

1) from China’s Jiuquan Satellite Centre in 2018, enabling Pakistan to the membership of prestigious Space Club.

•    2019 Groundbreaking of Allama Iqbal Industrial City (M3), Faisalabad Special Economic Zone. Prime Minister Imran Khan visits China in 2019 to attend the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. JWG (Joint Working Group on International Coordination and Cooperation launched in 2019. Visit of Chinese Vice President to Pakistan in May, 2019.The two sides celebrate 2019 as the year of sister-city/ province, China-Pakistan shares several MoUs signed as sister cities or provinces. Pakistan hosts the Third China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers Dialogue 2019 in Islamabad, a breakthrough in diplomacy toward resolving the Afghan crisis. Prime Minister Imran Khan to China in October, 2019. CPEC Authority has been set-up to coordinate and monitor progress on CPEC Projects in 2019. A CPEC Cell was also established in the Prime Minister’s Office in 2019. 9th JCC took place in Islamabad in November, 2019

•             2020 CPFTA-II became operational from 1st January, whereas Pakistan may enjoy better access to the Chinese market.  Extensive bilateral coordination in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic; China is the major contributor who extended the largest amount of assistance to Pakistan in fighting the outbreak in 2020. Visit of the President Alvi to China in March 2020. MOUs signed including MOU to establish JWGs on Science & Technology and Agricultural Cooperation.

Pakistan and China have enjoyed close and friendly relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations on May 21, 1951. Over the years, the relationship has blossomed into an “All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership”, with the CPEC at its core. Pakistan considers China as one of its closest friends and partners and China considers Pakistan as its “Iron Brother”.