Introduction: 

 

For decades China has maintained
a very cultivated as well as complex political, economic and military relations
with Pakistan. The Governments often describe their relation as “All-Weather
Friendship that is “Higher than mountains and deeper than sea”. The two
countries have maintain full-bodied exchanges at all levels, they conduct
combined military and anti-terrorism exercises, and hold regular security,
economic and communication dialogues. China has provided Pakistan with many
benefits including nuclear assistance, they made key investments in Pakistan’s
port, transportation, and resource development Infrastructure; contributed to
Pakistan’s National Security by making military sales and cooperating on
weapons production.

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People’s Republic of China came
into being on 21st September 1949, and Pakistan was the first
country to recognize it on the map of the world. Both the countries have almost
60 years of diplomatic ties that go way back.

Background:

 

Pakistan
possess strategically unique and important geography, which was in favor of
China. . China believes the strategic position of Pakistan can get China
shortest route to the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Aden, which can improve economic
stability in the Xinjiang province of China, as it shares border with Pakistan.
The bond between two countries is strategic and many areas of cooperation have
been established in favor of both countries like Gawadar port and Karakorum
highway. Both countries are giving much importance to strengthen their economic
relations.1

Pak-China Relation:
Mutual Interest 

Pakistan
has been the greater beneficiary from this relationship with china providing
help in all aspects from military to economic assistance, China has stood by
Pakistan.

From Pakistan’s perspective,
Beijing has served as a loyal and trusted friend in what otherwise is a rough
neighborhood. Islamabad can count on China to back its stand on India and its
position on Kashmir. On a visit to Pakistan, China’s Foreign minister Wang Yi
assured Islamabad that China and Pakistan were in sync on all matters and had
an “Iron-Clad” understanding between them, one that has taken years to hone and
fortify.

 It also sees China as an important partner in
providing Pakistan with help for its national security needs and with critical
aid and investment to improve Pakistan’s weak infrastructure. Finally, Pakistan
sees China’s friendship over the years as having been steadfast and dependable,
in contrast to U.S. assistance to Pakistan, which is seen as having varied with
U.S. policy priorities and administrations.

Mutual Strategic concerns about India:

Pakistan and China have had
mutual geographical and historical concerns with respect to India. China and
Pakistan also have compelling reasons for cooperating with the other to avoid
being the sole focus of India’s strategic attention. China and Pakistan appear
to view their political, military, and economic cooperation as tools with which
they can counter India’s power by trying to bind India’s activities within a
South Asian context and to limit India’s connections with resource-rich Central
Asia. Sino-Pakistan security cooperation also helps to tie down Indian troops
in Kashmir, where India, China, and Pakistan all have territorial claims.2

Chinese Government sees India as
an attractive economic opportunity and increased security concern but it still
has close ties and maintained relations with Pakistan without letting it get
affected by its association with India.

Economic Relations:           

China
is a modern developing country with good economic and political condition and
Pakistan is a country which possesses unique and important geography. China
believes that the strategic position of Pakistan can provide it shortest route
to other countries which can improve economic stability in China. The strategic
bond between the countries is in favor of both. Both countries are giving much
importance to strengthen their economic relations. Chinese investment in
Pakistan is gradually increasing in the public sector, which is very important
for economic development. China’s investment in Pakistan is increasing in
public sector which is very beneficial for Pakistan’s economy. For more strong
economic relationship Pakistan and China have signed an agreement known as FTA.

FTA (Free Trade Agreement):

A free-trade area is
the region encompassing a trade bloc whose member countries have signed
a free-trade agreement. Such agreements involve cooperation
between at least two countries to reduce trade barriers import quotas and
tariffs and to increase trade of goods and services with each other.
Pakistan is the first country which has an FTA (Free Trade Agreement) with
China. Both states cooperate with each other in the field of trade, economic,
technology, communication, industry, energy and agriculture sectors.

China’s most prominent economic
investments include:

The Karakorum Highway:

 In 1986, the 1,300-kilometer Karakoram Highway
(KKH) was completed with Chinese assistance, linking, at its northern end, the
Chinese city of Kashgar with key points in northern Pakistan. The highway
remains a critical connection between the two countries. In June 2006, the
Pakistan Highway Administration and China’s State-Owned Assets Supervision and
Administration Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to rebuild
and improve the KKH to allow for heavier transport traffic and all-weather
travel.  The Karakorum Highway connects
China and Pakistan across the Karakoram mountain range, through the Khunjerab
Pass, at an elevation of 4,693 meters (15,397 ft) above the sea level. It is
often called the Eighth wonder of the world for its elevation and extreme
difficulty of construction. It is also a source of contact for the people of
two nations. It is strategically important as well as tribute to the
exceptional relationship between China and Pakistan.3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gawadar Deep Sea Port:

The Gawadar deep sea port, in
Pakistan’s Baluchistan province along Pakistan’s southwest coast, was built
with substantial PRC assistance. Inaugurated officially in 2008, Gawadar is
close to the Straits of Hormuz and thus is strategically located to serve as a
key regional transshipment point. The port has concerned some in the United
States, and has attracted the concern of India’s military establishment as a
potential avenue for monitoring Indian naval activities and a potential threat
to Indian shipping in the gulf. Longer-term investment plans also are being
discussed, including the building of rail links between Gawadar and China and
Central Asia. Gawadar port is in Baluchistan which is the most positive aspect
of this project. This port is a trade corridor for Central Asia and China as
major oil and gas trade is done through this route4.

 

 

 

 

 

CPEC ( China Pakistan Economic
Corridor):

China Pakistan
Economic Corridor is a collection of infrastructure projects that are
currently under construction throughout Pakistan. Originally
valued at $46 billion, the value of CPEC projects is now worth
$62 billion. CPEC 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 CPEC that will span the length and
breadth of Pakistan. China will get route to other countries and Pakistan will
develop economically once this project is completed. Modern transportation
networks built under CPEC will link seaports in Gawadar and Karachi with
northern Pakistan, as well as points further north in western China and Central Asia.
A 1,100 kilometer long motorway will be built between the cities of Karachi and Lahore
 as part of CPEC, while the Karakoram
Highway between Rawalpindi and
the Chinese border will be completely
reconstructed and overhauled. This project is in the benefit of both the
countries. This project is currently in progress. The major investment of China
in Pakistan is CPEC. It will open doors of opportunities for people of both the
countries5.

 

 

 

 

FTA Benefiting China more than Pakistan:

All the investments which china
has made in Pakistan are more in the favor of china than Pakistan. China’s
bilateral economic relationship with Pakistan has been uneven. Imports from
China are increasing without any concession whereas; Pakistan has not increased
its exports. The reason behind Pakistan being unable to increase its exports is
more favorable tariff concessions granted by China to its other trading partners,
due to which Pakistani exports become uncompetitive. Increasing imports from
China had affected domestic industry of Pakistan. Chinese products are becoming
more common than local products due to which our own industry is facing crisis
where China is benefitted. After CPEC the Chinese influence will increase on
Pakistan they will invest more and more in our country. It will improve our
economy to certain extent but Pakistan will get more dependent on China. China
imports from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. So our exporters face competition
with these two countries. This competition has reduced Pakistan’s exports to
China. China got the main benefit from the bilateral economic relations6.

Reliance on strong military-to-military
relations:

The military relations have long
been the most important and vibrant component of China-Pakistan relations. Much
in the relationship is seen to be militarily led, and China’s PLA (Peoples’
Liberation Army) is thought to weigh heavily in China’s strategic decisions on
Pakistan. Bilateral military cooperation is “unusually strong” and ranges from
naval cooperation, to past nuclear assistance, to arms sales, to combined
military and anti-terror exercises. These examples of cooperation underscore
the high degree of institutional trust that has arisen between the two
militaries. PLA personnel have worked for years to build an impressive network
of connections with Pakistan’s military establishment. Consequently, Pakistan
has a significant level of confidential communications and military-to-military
trust with China, encouraged by the fact that, “nothing ever leaks from the
Chinese side”. China’s leaders have faith that Pakistan’s military
establishment can handle the terrorist threats, ethnic disturbances, and tribal
clashes that might damage China’s own interests. This faith in the military is
accompanied by the PRC’s (Peoples Republic of China) lack of confidence in and
distaste for the Pakistan civilian government. Chinese interlocutors freely
admit a preference for the military-led governments of Pakistan’s past, and it
is primarily Pakistan’s military that Beijing continues to view as the reliable
guarantor of PRC interests in Pakistan.

The close relationship between
the two military establishments appears to give China consistent and relatively
unencumbered access to military policy processes and decision-makers in
Pakistan regardless of oscillations in Beijing’s relationship with Pakistan’s
civilian leadership. 7

Examples of military and armed
relations can be found very easily and both countries have mutually supported
each other over time.

Pak-army Security Division for Chinese:

The Army created a special
security division for the protection of Chinese engineers, project directors,
experts and workers employed on various Chinese funded projects across Pakistan.
Military sources said a total of 10,000 troops have been dedicated to this
purpose and a two-star senior military officer, who would report directly to
the General Headquarters (GHQ), would head this security division. Out of
10,000 troops, over 5,000 will be from the special services group of Pakistan
Army who are specially trained for counter-terrorism and security.8

Growing counter-terrorism challenges:

The suggested changing nature of
each country’s counter-terror interests is a new challenge to the relationship.
Given the growing international nature and connectivity of terrorism,
roundtable participants said that China’s domestic problems with
counter-terrorism sometimes rise to a more prominent level in the bilateral
relationship. Despite Beijing’s preference to handle such issues unilaterally,
Pakistan’s terrorism problems are more often becoming China’s terrorism
problems. Most importantly, Pakistani religious schools, or madrassas, have
attracted students from the Chinese Uighur Muslim community in Xinjiang. Some
of these students reportedly are then recruited by Taliban groups and the ETIM
(Eastern Turkish Islamic Movement), with direct and destabilizing consequences
for China.

Such issues have become a muted
source of tension in China-Pakistan relations, prompting China to exert varying
degrees of pressure on the Pakistani government and military to do more to halt
this potential challenge to Chinese national security interests. China handles
most of these tensions quietly through its extensive private channels with
Pakistan and its military. Seldom does such a problem rise even to the level of
polite public comment by PRC officials.

Still, such issues presumably are
creating a low, pulsing drumbeat in the background for harmonious
China-Pakistan relations. Efforts by extremist groups in Pakistan to link up
with those in western China are likely to be viewed with alarm by Beijing.
Moreover, such pressures from extremist groups in Pakistan could begin to affect
China’s propensity to handle its Xinjiang problems on its own. As a result,
China is likely to continue to press Pakistan to step up its anti-terror
activities, much as the United States is doing.9

Prospects for New phase collaboration:

There are 22
key projects that China has opened up in Pakistan such as tank rebuilding
factory, aircraft rebuilding factory, machine tools, heavy mechanical complex,
heavy electrical complex, nuclear power plants, Gawadar port and Karakorum
Highway. Correspondingly there are more than 120 smaller Chinese projects and
around 12,000 to 15,000 Chinese engineers and professionals are doing work in
Pakistan on these types of projects and even more are to arrive. In order to
successfully channel this cooperation nevertheless, it is very important to
seriously synchronize these initiatives and build proper industrial zones.

Another
important step on Pakistani side is the security of Chinese nationals who have
been dealing with dangers of targeted killings in Pakistan. Government of
Pakistan has already guaranteed their proper protection and security and to
provide them an ideal work environment. The Division of Pakistan Army’s special
security for the protection of Chinese citizen employed on various Chinese funded
projects across Pakistan, as mentioned above proves that Pakistan is making
efforts to maintain their relations on good terms.10

Conclusion:

The relation
between Pakistan and China, spotlighting the cooperation projects for economic
prosperity and defense training. The future of this relationship will be bright
and prosperous as Sino-Pak economic relations are playing an important role to
attain their mutual concerns for the economic development by bringing regional
prosperity and development.

 Pakistan’s geographical location is very
important for China. On the other hand, China has great strategic importance
and economic opportunity for Pakistan, which Karakorum highway and Gawadar port
are great examples. Pakistan also needs China in the field of defense, which
led Pakistan to become one of the biggest importer of Ammunition to China.
JF-17 is also a primary example of Sino-Pak cooperation.

Traditionally
it was considered that Pakistan needed China more than it needed Pakistan. But
now days, rapid changes in global scenario make both states essential to each
other. China has world’s second largest economy having great opportunities for
Pakistan to take advantage it. Chinese investment is playing an important role
to support the Pakistan weak economy, for example, FTA is becoming major cause
of Pak-China trade volume to gradually increases.

Sino-Pak
alliance presents opportunity for both countries, but it also comes with
challenges, be it may minimum investment from China in the private sector,
terrorism threat or one-sided FTA. How these push and pull factors affect the
alliance and China’s ability to influence Pakistan on specific regional
security issues depends upon Pakistan delivering on China’s core interests.
Many steps have been proposed to counter these challenges, especially the
terrorism threat that resulted it in military to military training between both
country’s army every two years.

 Pakistan has a lot to learn from China when it
comes to economics success. Be it May, their economic policy or their stance
towards their enemies. Pakistan has to follow China’s step by maximizing their
national saving for foreign investments and get on good terms with India, if it
wants to achieve economic prosperity.11

1 SINO-PAK ECONOMIC RELATIONS: The Challenges and Lessons For Pakistan,
Chapter 1, (1.1) by

Khawaja
AbdulHaq

 

2 Components of the
territorial claims include Jammu and Kashmir, administered by India;
Gilgit-Baltistan, administered by Pakistan; and Aksai Chin, administered by
China.

3Aiza Azam, The Karakorum Highway: A friendship channel , “A cultural Journal”.

4 https://www.dawn.com/news/238494/gwadar-port-inaugurated-plan-for-second-port-in-balochistan-at-sonmiani.

5 Tahir Khan,  Economic
Corridor, The Express Tribune, 2nd March, 2015.

6 Aftab Maken, FTA
benefiting China more than Pakistan, The News, 12 August 2011.

7 Exploring the
China-Pakistan Relationship Roundtable Report -Kerry B. Dumbaugh

8 https://www.dawn.com/news/1177322
(Article by Mateen Haider- April 21st 2015)

9 Ziad Haider, The China
Factor in Pakistan, FEER, Oct. 14, 2009.

10  SINO-PAK ECONOMIC RELATIONS: The Challenges and
Lessons For Pakistan by Khawaja
AbdulHaq, chapter 4 (article 4.2)

 

11 https://www.academia.edu/19219619/Economic_relation_between_China_and_Pakistan