CHINA-PAKISTAN RELATIONS The Communists came to power in China on 1 October 1949 At that time, Liaqat Ali Khan, Pakistan’s prime minister, was trying to cultivate close relations with the United States Accordingly, China started official business with Pakistan by leaning toward support of India on the issue of Kashmir It was only with the arrival of military rule in Pakistan that the relations between the People’s Republic of China and Pakistan began to improve The initial overture to China was made by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a member of the Ayub Khan Cabinet Bhutto found China in a receptive mood It had severed relations with the Soviet Union in 1961; Japan was still not prepared to work with Beijing; Taiwan remained an irritant, supported by the United States Despite the close personal relations that had developed between Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Zhou Enlai, India was inclined to support the Soviet Union in its dispute with China This left Pakistan, a close ally of the United States, a country at odds with both India and the Soviet Union The 1962 border war between China and India prompted President John F

Kennedy to get personally involved in South Asia To bring pressure on Pakistan, Washington decided to withhold funding of some development projects But the Pakistani leadership refused to buckle under this pressure In January 1964, Pakistan and China announced that the two countries had agreed to demarcate the undefined 500-kilometer border between them The border ran from the point where Afghanistan, China, and Pakistan meet, and included the strategic Khunjerab Pass in the Karakoram range In August 1964, China and Pakistan announced an agreement to build a road connecting China’s Xinjiang province with the northern areas of Pakistan The United States retaliated by suspending all development assistance to Pakistan In 1965, Pakistan fought its second war with India over the state of Kashmir The enormous investment that Pakistan had made in cultivating a close relationship with China now paid off Although the United States and the countries of Western Europe stopped all economic and military assistance to Pakistan and India, Pakistan was able to procure military supplies from China Despite the strained relations between the United States and Pakistan, Pakistan’s close relations with China came in handy for the United States when, under President Richard Nixon, Washington decided to begin the process of normalization with Beijing

In July 1971, Pakistan facilitated the secret mission to China undertaken by Henry Kissinger, the US secretary of state Kissinger’s first meeting with Chinese officials was on a Pakistani Airlines plane enroute to Beijing China continued to figure in an important way in Pakistan’s relations with the United States The United States suspected that the two countries had worked closely on the development of a nuclear bomb by Pakistan In addition to the complication caused by the United States in Pakistan’s relations with China, one other irritant has emerged in the way the two countries are dealing with one another As Pakistan sought to strengthen its relations with the Muslim republics of Central Asia, a number of Islamic groups in the country began to work in these countries But they did not confine their activities only to Central Asia Some of them-in particular the Jamaat-e-Islami- extended their reach to Xinjiang province of China This type of activity did not sit well with the authorities in Beijing

These irritants notwithstanding, Pakistan looked to China once again when, on 11 May 1998, India tested three nuclear devices and followed the testing a week later with a strongly worded warning to its neighbor not to influence the ongoing agitation in Kashmir against Indian occupation of the state Pakistan dispatched a high-level delegation to Beijing to secure support and protection from the Chinese in its conflict with India Changes in China’s leadership in 2002 when Hu Jintao was elected the Communist Party’s Secretary General and later became the country’s president did not affect its relations with Pakistan Although Beijing initiated a program to develop close economic relations with Delhi, which resulted in a sharp increase in China-India trade, China continued to treat Pakistan as its closest ally in South Asia At the insistence of Pakistan the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), at its 13th summit held in Dhaka in November 2005, invited China to become an observer in the organization In December 2005, Pakistan and China agreed to cooperate further in the area of the peaceful use of nuclear power It was revealed that China had agreed to provide six to eight nuclear power reactors to Pakistan that will produce 3,600 to 4,800 MW of electric power and will be constructed over a period of 10 years beginning in 2015 The two countries were already collaborating in the area China was building the second nuclear reactor at Chasma in Punjab that, when completed in 2010, will produce 300 MW of power See also INDOPAKISTAN NUCLEAR ARMS RACE

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