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Pak China Relations

  • Date Submitted: 12/21/2011 11:24 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 40.2 
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Pakistan and China: A Fraying Friendship?
There is an old Chinese proverb that says to attract good fortune, spend a new penny on an old friend. On Friday, an old friend is due to come calling in China. Pakistan's President Asif Zardari will make his second visit to China in four months for meetings with senior political and business leaders. A key ally in the U.S.-led "War on Terror," Pakistan — desperate for money and in need of a good friend — has recently found itself beckoning China for rescue. But is China willing to invest its pennies in Pakistan, much less play superhero for an old but now problematic ally?
Once an "all-weather friend," China stood with Pakistan during its old confrontations with India. Ties between the two countries date back to 1950 after Pakistan joined a small handful of nations in recognizing the communist People's Republic of China. In 1962, war broke out between China and India over the disputed Himalayan border region, further aligning China and Pakistan in the name of a common enmity toward India. Since then, Beijing has often offered its support to Islamabad in the way of economic assistance, but also with no-strings-attached military aid and support to Pakistan's nuclear program. (See pictures of Pakistan's vulnerable Northwest passage.)
Although China has not signed an official nuclear agreement similar to the civilian nuclear pact between the U.S. and India, it has invested heavily in the construction of several nuclear power plants in Pakistan. Unlike its relationship with the U.S, Pakistan's agreements with China seldom came with conditions. "The U.S. hasn't offered to support nuclear projects with Pakistan, so we go to China where we know we are always very warmly welcomed," says Muhammad Saleem Mazhar, director of the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Punjab in Lahore. Various Chinese-funded projects are also currently underway to boost Pakistan's infrastructure, including the development...

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