By Sabah Aslam*
It is a well-understood certitude that the iron bond between Beijing and Islamabad gained more strength the moment CPEC was incepted. With growing progress, it got more zest. Amid to the relation which both countries share, several moments occurred where high profile delegation of Peoples Republic of China paid visits to Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Few such visits include visit of Chinese President and Chinese Premier. This time Chinese Vice President, Mr. Wang Qishan visited Pakistan. It was scheduled from May 26 to May 28, 2019.
During his course of visit, he had met the Prime Minister Imran Khan, where both shared their views on the diverse areas of cooperation between Beijing and Islamabad and how to further strengthen the bond between the two countries. Later, he met the President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan where he was reverenced by the highest civil award of Pakistan “Nishan-e-Pakistan”. Award was given in recognition of the commendable role he has played in promoting Pakistan-China relations. Mr. Wang also had a meeting with the military chief of Pakistan.
Prior to the visit, foreign office of Pakistan released a statement that noted that the visit is in continuation of high-level visits of Pakistan to China in 2018 and later of 2nd Belt and Road forum in Beijing in April 2019.
It has been now 68 years since the diplomatic ties were first entrenched between Pakistan and China. Despite the ever-changing global dynamics, both countries stood side by side with each other and supported the stances of each other internationally.
Every act counts. From the President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif alvi honoring highest civil award “Nishan-e-Pakistan to the inauguration of four mega projects and signing of five MOUs it is all evident of how deeply rooted the bond between the iron brothers is and as to why they are said to be all-weathers’ friends. It is not only Pakistan that holds great feelings of affection towards the China but it is the same on the other side as well.
The visit from Chinese high ranks was need of time and visit of Chinese Vice President served the cause. The moment Prime Minister Imran Khan walked into the power corridors in Islamabad there have been speculations that Chinese are not comfortable with the new government and there are few irritants which are causing hindrances in the progress of CPEC thus affecting the bond which both countries share. Prime Minister Imran Khan paid a couple of visits to China since assuming the office. One was in 2018, the other was on the Second Forum of Belt and Road Initiative held at Beijing. Current visit of Vice president, Wang Qishan therefore, did the job and defied all those speculations.
Another aspect that can be considered of Qishan’s visit is that this visit has also sent a strong message to the Washington. In the line of recent events where United States is arching a full-scale trade war with China; this visit sent a strong signal to Oval that China is going stronger and no such action can contain its policy of global prosperity through economics. In addition, that China will not be patronized by such acts of the United States. If US is willing and determined to wage into any sort of economic war than China is all set too.
Wang’s visit to Pakistan once again rejuvenated the relation between Pakistan and China. His visit also proved to be a vitality booster for the economic cooperation between the two countries. Such high profile visits always have been fruitful in conveying the message to international community that the iron bond is truly “Deeper than the seas and Higher than the Himalayas”.
*Sabah Aslam is the Founder & Executive Director of Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (IICR), and member visiting faculty Dept. of Peace & Conflict Studies, NUML, and School of Politics & IR, Quaid-I- Azam University, Islamabad.