Pakistan and China have had close diplomatic and strategic ties since the formal establishment of diplomatic relations in 1951. A cursory glance at the history of bilateral relations reveals how the two countries managed to expand and deepen ties in multiple sectors despite some daunting challenges. Over the period, the relationship has undergone a considerable positive transformation. Largely driven by defense and military to military cooperation at the outset, the two countries soon realized the need to expand ties in various other fields. The absence of an all-weather road impeded realizing this objective for some time. Yet, even the arduous task of constructing the Karakorum Highway could not demoralize and forced them to give up on the shared vision for establishing strategic partnership and envisioning enhanced cooperation for regional integration. They accomplished the incredible feat of KKH and took the entire world by surprise. The story did not end with KKH and a new chapter of cooperation has opened with the BRI and the flagship project of CPEC that promises to herald a new era of prosperity. China figures prominently in the strategic calculations of Pakistan and its vision for economic growth and development. In this regard, the Pakistan-China Business and Investment Forum aimed at enhancing business-to-business (B2B) cooperation and ensuring increased sustainable investment by Chinese companies is a recent example that marks another milestone achieved in the relations.
The growing convergence of interests between the two cooperative strategic partners finds apt expression in the rather poetic description of the relationship as ‘higher than mountains, deeper than oceans, stronger than steel and sweeter than honey. Currently, the relationship is characterized by a high degree of mutual trust, confidence, and seamless cooperation that has enabled the two countries to overcome challenges and difficulties caused by hostile regional and extra-regional forces.