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The China-Pakistan Axis - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Small argues that China uses Pakistan as a balance against India, its main adversary in Asia. Pakistan is also a valuable connecting bridge to Afghanistan, which China sees as an important future asset to invest in. Here, however, they seem to have run into a conflict of interests in recent years. Pakistan is repeatedly accused of not persecuting extremists vigilantly and only focusing on those that are directing their attacks against Pakistan itself. That Pakistan may not always do all it can in making Afghanistan and its own territory a safer place for Chinese investments keeps Beijing worried.

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But friendship, the one commodity that Pakistan can offer China more convincingly than any other country, matters far more to Beijing than it used to. As a result, the China-Pakistan axis is almost ready to step out of the shadows. When riding down Mall Road in Lahore just a day before the official visit, all the trees were seen plastered with supersized posters of the guests as well as the Sharif brothers and some panda bears.

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The state was preparing for a glorious welcome. Although it will still take some time to evaluate its impact, from what has surfaced, the visit was amicable and successful, resulting in large numbers of bilateral agreements signed.

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Most prominently they managed to convince Pakistan to provide a separate army regiment solely deployed for the safety of Chinese citizens in the country, a concern that was very important to China — as Small shows throughout his book. Gwadar is a project out of sight for a large part of the population, and some claim may even remain somewhat of a pipe dream. However, the economic corridor — even just the debate on it — will bring some additional visibility to the Sino-Pakistan link.

Visiting Pakistani friends who study at the main University in Urumqi, I was surprised how international the campus was.

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Students from Korea to the Central Asian states, as well as from all South Asian countries, come here for their education. My friends felt comfortable enough to regularly switch between speaking Chinese with the taxi driver, Uighur with the proprietor of a tea stall, English with other international students and their mother tongue, Seraiki, amongst themselves. For China and its neighbours, such an exchange holds a lot of potential.

Language and culture barriers, which can result in the failure of economic cooperation, can be overcome this way. As the relation between these two countries has seen numerous twists and turns during the last decades, it is still difficult to foresee how it will develop in the near future. Journalists and experts on the politics of Asia will fill many more pages trying to grapple with this globally relevant issue.

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Marc February 19, at Rana M. Perhaps if we stop labelling Pakistan as "unpredictable islamic Republic" we might see what the Chinese see, as it is certain that they would not be investing 45 Billions in an unstable nation. Some imaginative thinking is required Login with your subscriber account:. I am Magazine subscriber Newsletter subscriber.

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