Bilateral

China’s reaffirmation of support

Aug 24, 2017
While announcing his government’s new strategy on Afghan war, United States President Donald Trump went on a tirade against Pakistan. Trump’s outbursts certainly reflected poorly on the performance of those responsible for managing Pakistan’s diplomacy. 
 
But we were lucky that at least one of our neighbours rushed to our defence. Chinese foreign minister gave a statement to the effect that Pakistan was on the frontline in the war against terror.
 
China’s defence of Pakistan will surely bring the two countries closer. And Trump administration may not have known that by lashing out at Pakistan, it has made a strategic mistake of providing an opportunity to Pakistan and China to come closer for diplomatic cooperation.
 
The American demand to ‘do more’ is not new for Pakistan, as the previous US governments had also been telling the country to expand anti-terror operations and end discriminating militant groups. But Pakistan’s role in the entire regional game has undergone a significant shift in the past few years. The military now claims to be carrying out an across the board action against terrorists without any discrimination whatsoever. After the recent statement, it appears that the new US administration is not ready to acknowledge this shift in Pakistan’s policy, which other regional stakeholders have also appreciated.
 
What is new is that the world is now speaking up about the country’s sacrifices in terms of lives lost during all these years in the war against terrorism. Singling Pakistan out would mean the enhancement of Sino-Pak regional cooperation to an international-level collaboration between the two countries. It might not bode well for regional stability because China’s relations with India are worsening and in return for the diplomatic help, the Chinese might at some point ask us to support them against India. In the current situation when Pakistan is facing multiple challenges at home, it won’t be smart to get involved in conflicts that we have nothing to do with.
 
While Pakistan should be grateful China for the support, the country should also reform its foreign policy and reflect as to why we continue to face diplomatic failures. Why was it that another country had to do what is supposed to be the job of our representatives?
 
Daily Times, August 24, 2017

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