China–Pakistan relations began in 1951 when Pakistan recognised the People’s Republic of China (PRC) regime on Mainland China. Since then, both countries have placed considerable importance on the maintenance of an extremely close and supportive special relationship and they have regularly exchanged high-level visits resulting in a variety of agreements.
The relations between Pakistan and China have been famously described as “higher than the mountains, deeper than the oceans, stronger than steel, dearer than eyesight and sweeter than honey.
The PRC has provided economic, military, and technical assistance to Pakistan, and each country considers the other a close strategic ally.
Maintaining close relations with China is a central part of Pakistan’s foreign policy. In 1986, President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq visited China to improve diplomatic relations, and Pakistan was one of only two countries, alongside Cuba, to offer crucial support to the PRC after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.
Pakistan has served as China’s main bridge to the Islamic world, and also played an important role in bridging the communication gap between the PRC and the West by facilitating U.S. President Richard Nixon’s historic 1972 visit to China.
China and Pakistan also share close military relations, with China supplying a range of modern armaments to the Pakistani defence forces. China supports Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir, while Pakistan supports China on the issues of Tibet and Taiwan. Military cooperation has deepened, with joint projects producing armaments ranging from fighter jets to guided missile frigates.
Chinese cooperation with Pakistan has reached economic high points, with substantial Chinese investment in Pakistani infrastructural expansion including the Pakistani deep-water port at Gwadar. Both countries have an ongoing free trade agreement.
The launch of the billions dollars game-changer project called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has further testified their close and trusted friendship relations. The CPEC is a collection of infrastructure projects that are currently under construction throughout Pakistan.
The CPEC projects is intended to rapidly modernize Pakistani infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction of modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects, and special economic zones.
A vast network of highways and railways are to be built under the aegis of CPEC that will span the length and breadth of Pakistan. Inefficiencies stemming from Pakistan’s mostly dilapidated transportation network are estimated by the government to cause a loss of 3.55% of the country’s annual GDP. Modern transportation networks built under CPEC will link seaports in Gwadar and Karachi with northern Pakistan, as well as points further north in western China and Central Asia and its timely completion could change the fate of Pakistan as it could open a floodgate of foreign investment in Pakistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, who reached China on his third official visit since assuming the charge as the prime minister of Pakistan along with a powerful delegation, assured Chinese investors of efforts to ease practices of doing business in Pakistan as he wooed businessmen in Beijing and encouraged them to invest in Pakistan as it is “great time of doing business.”
Speaking at the China Council for Promotion of International Trade, the premier said all investments related to CPEC will now be dealt from the PM office in order to remove all hurdles faced by investors.
“We have formed the CPEC Authority so that my office can make it easier for people investing in Pakistan,” said the prime minister.
“Pakistan has completed phase one of Gwader Free Zone and the country is encouraging businesses to make big profits as the wealth creation will enable us to lift the people out of poverty on the pattern of China,” elaborated the prime minister.
PM Imran also invited Chinese companies to invest in textile, IT and financial services along with physical and technological logistics, agriculture, oil and gas, tourism and hospitality sectors.
The prospects of Pak-China relations reveal its significant impact on the global politics in future. The new areas of cooperation explored the nature of bilateral partnership in the anarchic order of the 21st century. The coordination between the two countries will ensure their economic prosperity and security in the 21st century that will help in achieving their national interest.