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China–Pakistan relations began in 1950 when Pakistan was among the first countries to end official diplomatic relations with the Republic of China or Taiwan and recognize the PRC. Since then, both countries have placed considerable importance on the maintenance of an extremely close and supportive relationship and the two countries have regularly exchanged high-level visits resulting in a variety of agreements. The PRC has provided economic, military and technical assistance to Pakistan and each considers the other a close strategic ally. The relationship has recently been the subject of renewed attention due to the publication of a new book, The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics, which is the first extensive treatment of the relationship since the 1970s.
Bilateral relations have evolved from an initial Chinese policy of neutrality to a partnership with a smaller but militarily powerful Pakistan. Diplomatic relations were established in 1950, boundary issues solved in 1963, military assistance began in 1966, a strategic alliance was formed in 1972 and economic co-operation began in 1979. China has become Pakistan’s largest supplier of arms and its third-largest trading partner. China has given Pakistan a loan of $60 million which was later made a grant after east pakistan broke away. Recently, both nations have decided to cooperate in improving Pakistan’s civil nuclear power sector.
Maintaining close relations with China is a central part of Pakistan’s foreign policy. In 1986 Zia visited China to improve diplomatic relations.In addition, Pakistan was one of only two countries, alongside Cuba, to offer crucial support for the PRC in after the Tiananmen protests of 1989. 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 Xinjiang, 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. Pakistan has served as China’s main bridge between Muslim countries. Pakistan also played an important role in bridging the communication gap between China and the West by facilitating the 1972 Nixon visit to China. The relations between Pakistan and China have been described by Pakistan’s ambassador to China as higher than the mountains, deeper than the oceans, stronger than steel, dearer than eyesight, sweeter than honey, and so on.  According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Pakistan is China’s biggest arms buyer, counting for nearly 47% of Chinese arms exports. According to a 2014 BBC World Service Poll, 75% of Pakistanis view China’s influence positively with only 15% expressing a negative view. In the Asia-Pacific region, Chinese people hold third most positive opinions of Pakistan’s influence in the world, behind Indonesia and Pakistan itself.
Pak-China socio-economic relations in the Era 2000-2012 Pakistan and China has long history of reliable and time tested relationship. PakChina friendship has been proved to be model of friendship between two neighboring states. Both states have strong political, defence, social and economic relations. The changes took place in government of both states do not affect their relations. Their friendship is based on the principle of equality and mutual interests in all the fields of life. Both states respect the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of each other. Both countries are giving much importance to their mutual relations in their foreign policy. Pakistan supported Chinese point of view on one China policy, Tibet and Taiwan issues. China always gives defence and economic assistance to Pakistan. In Pakistan, there is huge Chinese investment which is likely to invest in the development of infrastructure, roads, highway, ports, and energy and communications sectors. Pakistan welcomed the Chinese investment for social and economic development. China supported Pakistan role against terrorism in this region.(Sabir, n. d.) Jafar Riaz Kataria & Anum Naveed Pakistan-China Social 397 Both states are giving much importance to strengthen their economic relations. Chinese investment in Pakistan is gradually increasing which is very important for economic development. In South Asia, Pakistan is first country which has FTA (free trade agreement) with China. Pakistan and China are good trading partners. During first five years of FTA, Pakistan’s exports were increased. So, it is planned to extend FTA for next five years. Both states cooperate each others in the field of trade, economic, agriculture, industry, energy, communication, and technology sectors. Pakistan-China relations are an excellent example of shared perceptions on important issues and dependable friendship based on principles. (Sabir, n.d.) Historically, Pakistan and China has strong defence relations. China shares close military relations with Pakistan and transfer modern equipments to Pakistan defence forces. China gave material and moral support to Pakistan during Soviet invasion in Afghanistan, wars against India and as a frontline state against terrorism. Both states want to promote diplomatic, defence, economic, and social relations. The relations between two states describe as higher than Himalaya, deeper than Arabian Sea. So, it is important to discuss all major events took place in last twelve years (2000-2012). (Iqbal, 2011) Diplomatic Relations In twenty first century, Pakistan-China relations entered in new phase of development and cooperation. When General Pervez Musharraf became new chief executive of Pakistan, he focused to improve relations with China. In January 2000, Chief executive of Pakistan General Pervez Musharraf visited China after few months after he came of power. Pervez Musharraf met the Chinese Primer Zhou Rongji and discussed the problems related US sanctions on Pakistan’s nuclear policy and democracy related issues. He also talked to enhance Pak-China economic and trade relations. Premier Zhou Rongji stated military government in Pakistan would not affect Pak-China relations and stated “In our nation-building endeavors, our two countries have supported each other and have carried out fruit full cooperation”. Pervez Musharraf stated that “Pakistan considers China as its most reliable and time tested friend”. (Mahmood, 2000) In 2001, two countries organized major celebrations on 50th anniversary of Pak-China bilateral relations. In May 2001, Chinese primer Zhou Rongji visited Pakistan to attend 50th anniversary of Pakistan and China bilateral relationship. Zhou Rongji announced that China would start cooperation on the initial development of Gwadar port and coastal highway in Pakistan. Zhou Rongji also stated peace and stability in this region was priority of China. (Tao, 2012) The terrorists attacked World Trade Center and Pentagon on 11 September 2001. The world community reacted with shock. All condemned the attacks and expressed sympathy for American people. The President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf issued a strong statement of condemnation and sympathy. He also affirmed Pakistan’s readiness to join US war in fight against terrorism.
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan came into being on 14th of August, 1947 and the People’s Republic of China on 1st of October; 1949. Pakistan recognized China in 1950. Pakistan was the third non-communist and the first Muslim country to recognize China. Pakistan was also among those countries that opposed the United Nations resolution recognizing China as an aggressor in the Korean War. The diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan were established in May 1951. In 1961, the relations were further strengthened when Pakistan voted for a bill concerning the restoration of China’s legitimate rights in the UN. In 1963, China-Pakistan signed the agreement for settling the border issues and for the construction linking China’s Xinjian-Uygur autonomous region with the northern areas of Pakistan. Chinese diplomatic assistance during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, further solidified the China-Pakistan relationships (Kumar, 2006). Afterwards the state visits by different leaders of both sides kept on cementing the mutual ties. Particularly, in 1996, a state visit by Chinese President Jiang Zemin to Pakistan helped in establishing a comprehensive friendship. In 2005, China and Pakistan signed a landmark Treaty of Friendship and Co-operation (Aneja, 2006). Close China-Pakistan ties have been mainly of military and strategic importance. Pakistan always stands up to India against his hegemonies over the region, thus fulfilling the key objective of China’s South Asia policy. As long as Pakistan and India are preoccupied with one another China would be at peace on the Tibetan borders (Malik, 2001).
China wants to focus more and more upon economic progress and prosperity by avoiding the confrontations with India. Atul Kumar also expressed same kind of views. A strong Pakistan is in the interest of China as it ensures that Indian dreams of regional lordship will not go unchallenged (Kumar, 2006). China-Pakistan political relations are extremely deep but economic relations are shallow. China-Pakistan “all-weather” friendship requires the strengthening of the bilateral economic relationship. In this regard China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement is supposed to be a stepping stone in augmenting the economic relations between China and Pakistan. China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement was signed on 24 November 2006 and entered into force on 1 July 2007. The Agreement comprised of phased and gradual program of elimination of tariff on substantially all bilateral trade. Through bilateral efforts, the bilateral trade of goods between China and Pakistan is expected to reach 15 Billion US Dollars in 2011. Pakistan’s trade deficit with China is expanding. Pakistan’s economy is seriously struggling at the moment.
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