(Source: MFA China)
In a positive turn of events, China defended its ally Pakistan, after U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States could no longer be silent about Pakistan’s “safe havens” for militants and warned it had much to lose by continuing to “harbour terrorists”.
When asked about Trump’s speech, the spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Hua Chunying, said that Pakistan was on the front line in the struggle against terrorism and had made “great sacrifices” and “important contributions” in the fight. “We believe that the international community should fully recognise Pakistan’s anti-terrorism,” she said in her daily news briefing.
She further commented that “We (China) are happy to see Pakistan and the United States carry out anti-terror cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, and work together for security and stability in the region and world.”
Many argue that China’s support for Pakistan is also enshrined in its own security concerns in the region, in particular the presence of Chinese militant groups in the region. China, thus, believes that cooperation with Pakistan on matters of counter-terrorism and security would positively impact Beijing’s own domestic security concerns.
Experts in USA believe that one potential consequence of a hardened U.S. approach to Pakistan is that Islamabad may deepen its cooperation with China, especially because of the ongoing CPEC and OBOR initiatives. That is why, politicians and policy makers in Pakistan have always referred to as an ‘all weather friend’.
An op-ed in the US analysis website POLITICO argued that China’s role came up during the Trump administration’s conversations about Pakistan, the person familiar with the issue said. “There was discussion about how Pakistan has become a client state of China,” the person said.
In wake of Trump’s statements regarding India, any greater Indian involvement in Afghanistan does not only put USA in competition with Pakistan, but also with China as the latter has invested heavily in the region. This, in some regard, provides a positive picture for Pakistan’s future geo-strategic position and new alliances.