25 April 2015

China Loves Pakistan … but Most Chinese Don’t

APRIL 22, 2015 

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first state visit to Pakistan, and the $46 billion infrastructure and energy deal announced between the two countries on April 20, have headlined Chinese state media websites for days. The trade deal is part of China’s ambitious “New Silk Road” strategy to create an economic corridor linking western China with South Asia and the Middle East, and it’s meant to further deepen a bilateral relationship that China is eager to promote. On April 20, state news agency Xinhua characterized the relationship as an “ironclad friendship.” Communist Party mouthpiecePeople’s Daily quoted people on the street in Pakistan exclaiming, “We would rather give up gold than abandon the China-Pakistan friendship,” with the news outlet stating that this was the “heartfelt wish” of the people there. Pakistan’s government, for its part, is no less effusive, with officials there previously having described its relationship with the East Asian giant as “sweeter than honey,” one rising “higher than the Himalayas.” China-Pakistan diplomatic relations have indeed been strong for decades. Pakistan was one of the earliest countries to establish official relations with the People’s Republic of China, in 1951. China is Pakistan’s largest trading partner and its top arms supplier, and in the past decade, the two neighbors have been swift to provide aid to each other after natural disasters.

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