Ties with Pakistan ‘stronger than steel’: Chinese vice premier on Pakistan’s Independence Day

Attending the Pakistan’s Independence Day celebration on Monday, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, once again citing the strong ties between the two countries, stated that China’s friendship with Pakistan was “stronger than steel”. Wang attended Pakistan’s Independence Day celebration with the presence of the country’s President Mamnoon Hussain and its newly appointed Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

As reported by Scroll, the Chinese Vice Premier said, “We have forged an all-weather friendship that is higher than mountains, deeper than oceans, stronger than steel and sweeter than honey, and engaged in all-round cooperation, setting a shining example of friendly state-to-state relations.”

Further stating that Beijing was ready to strengthen the strategic ties and an all-round co-operation with Pakistan, Wang asserted that China supports Islamabad’s efforts against terrorism. In strong support for Pakistan, Wang added, “We will not forget that back in the 1960s and 1970s, Chinese and Pakistani engineers and technicians, defying the harsh conditions on the snow-capped cliffs of the Karakoram mountain range, built the China-Pakistan Friendship Highway with their sweat and blood.”

Days back, India has openly opposed the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative by Pakistan, which is also a part of India’s two neighbouring countries’ Economic Corridor and will be passing through the disputed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Even as tensions continue between India and China, with the two countries’ army facing each other at Doklam, attempts to extend international trade relations with foreign countries by the two arch rivals have also witnessed counter-attacks. While the Chinese government, in May this year, held a two day “One Belt, One Road” summit to strengthen trade relations with European and African nations, the crucial meeting was ignored by China’s Asian rivals India and Japan. With the trans-continent trade summit, China aimed to connect with more than 60 countries across Asia, Europe and Africa but India Japan and the USA countered the initiative which was proposed by the Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. Days after the OBOR Summit was held in Beijing, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC). Teaming up with Japan, in a meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the African Development Bank (AfDB) meet in Gandhinagar in May, India expressed his ambitions to integrate the economies of Asian countries with the African nations through AAGC.

The Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army of China have been facing each other, holding their respective posts at a distance of about 150 meters at the international border in Doklam. Although the border region has not witnessed any exchange of fire between India and China, the situation has further intensified with China refusing to go for any bilateral talks with India till the Indian Army leave the post and back up.

By Priyam Mukhopadhyay

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