China To Work To Strengthen And Broaden Its Relations With Pakistan – OpEd
By Dr. Sahibzada Muhammad Usman
General Asim Munir, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), is on an official visit to the People’s Republic of China (PRC). During the course of the journey, the Chief of Army Staff paid a visit to the headquarters of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and had an in-depth conversation with the PLA Commander. Later on, the Chief of the Army paid a visit to several field units of the People’s Liberation Army. While there, he saw an operational demonstration of the Chinese forces and expressed his admiration for the high level of training and professionalism shown by the soldiers.
Pakistan and China share the same border, are close economic partners, are like brothers, and have a long history of working together. The relationship between Pakistan and China is multidimensional and friendly in nature. Both countries have benefited from considerable bilateral collaboration in a variety of fields, including defense and security, commerce and investment, health and research, education, nuclear and renewable energy, space and technology, and more. Both Beijing and Islamabad have enjoyed each other’s backing at the United Nations, the Financial Action Task Force, and other multilateral global forums throughout history. This historic consensus and cooperation apply to both regional and global issues. The all-weather relationship between Pakistan and China, which has shown its value while facing adversity for the last seven and a half decades, has been further solidified throughout history by the fast-shifting regional and global geometrics.
The present tour by the Army Chief to China establishes a historical connection between the two forces and highlights the significance of Pak-China relations and bilateral cooperation in light of the increased dangers that exist in the area and the intensifying rivalry that is taking place on a global scale. Despite the fact that the magnificent China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has laid the groundwork for a robust Pak-China collaboration in the 21st century, internal political and economic crises, as well as an evolving geopolitical situation in South Asia call for a new consultation as well as increased economic and security cooperation between the two countries.
Assuring Pakistan Army chief General Asim Munir that their all-weather friendship will continue despite the perilous economic and political crisis faced by Islamabad and Beijing’s increasing concern over the security of its personnel working there, a top Chinese General told the Pakistan Army chief that China always puts Pakistan as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy. General Zhang Youxia, deputy chairman of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), the senior command of the Chinese military led by President Xi Jinping, had discussions with General Munir and addressed subjects relating to mutual security interests and military cooperation. These talks took place under the auspices of President Xi Jinping.
Both Pakistan and China have expressed their willingness to work towards the establishment of a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared destiny in the new era. The “regional security situation” was a topic that Gen. Munir and his PLA counterpart, General Li Qiaoming, addressed during their first trip to China. Both military chiefs emphasized the need to increase the level of military-to-military cooperation in addition to preserving peace and stability in the area. In order to further strengthen the long-standing ties between the two forces, General Munir participated in various discussions with senior military officials from China.
Significantly, General Munir’s visit comes just a few days before Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu’s two-day trip to India to take part in the SCO Defense Ministers meeting. During this time, it is widely anticipated that Li Shangfu will hold discussions with his Indian counterpart, Rajnath Singh, regarding the ongoing military standoff in Eastern Ladakh. Following the 18th round of top-level commanders-level discussions between India and China, General Li is now on tour to the Indian subcontinent. The Chinese Ministry of Defense expressed their satisfaction with the meeting, claiming that they had reached an agreement to “speed up” the resolution of any “relevant issues.”
In his own words, General Munir relayed to General Zhang that the relationship that exists between Pakistan and China is unparalleled in its height (mountains), depth (oceans), and sweetness (honey). Regardless of how the international and regional situation evolves, Pakistan will steadfastly defend China’s key interests in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Xinjiang, and the South China Sea. This commitment will not alter. Gen. Munir stated that the Pakistani side is willing to strengthen further strategic communication, practical exchanges, and counter-terrorism cooperation with the Chinese military to jointly enhance its capabilities to respond to various security challenges and contribute to international and regional peace and stability.
The People’s Republic of China has developed as a worldwide economic force, diplomatic fashionista, and peace broker in spite of continued competition with the United States and its allies in the Indo-Pacific area, the Strait of Taiwan, and many internal concerns that are proving to be troublesome for the Chinese government. After mediating a successful peace agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Beijing is now looking to broker a ceasefire between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Ukraine. This comes after Beijing successfully mediates a peace deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran. During this time of heightened global competition and bloc politics, it is crucial for Beijing that Pakistan be stable, and that strong links be formed between China and Pakistan. The Chinese side has expressed its willingness to boost its economic and military ties with Pakistan, and the Chinese Central Military Commission has said that China’s military is ready to work with Pakistan’s military to deepen and expand its cooperation and jointly safeguard peace and stability in the region. The present visit to China by the Army Chief is highly important for reinforcing the brotherly connections between Pakistan and China and reviving the fraternal relations between the two countries. The Chief of Army Staff is tasked with expanding this connection, which already spans all disciplines, and laying the groundwork for what will one day be a sustainable, all-encompassing, and extended-term strategic collaboration between the two nations.
Dr. Sahibzada Muhammad Usman, Research Scholar and Academic; Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Pisa, Italy. Dr. Usman has participated in various national and international conferences and published 30 research articles in international journals.