ISLAMBAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said Pakistan cannot be pressurised into changing or downgrading its relations with China, as he took the US and Western powers to task for forcing countries to take sides.
Pakistan and China enjoy a "very special relationship" spanning over 70 years and nothing could change these time-tested ties, the premier said during an exclusive interview with LIU Xin of CGTN.
The premier, during the interview, spoke at length upon the deep-rooted ties between the two countries. He stressed that no matter what happens, no matter what pressure is exerted on Pakistan, the relationship between the two countries would remain the same.
He said a "strange and great power rivalry" was underway in the region.
"US is being wary of China [...] I don't need to say this as it is public knowledge — the way China and US are looking at each other [...] so it creates problems."
The US has formed a regional alliance called "Quad" including India and a couple of other countries, he noted.
“So, from that point of view, Pakistan thinks that it is very unfair of the US and other Western powers [to make] countries like Pakistan take sides. Why should we take sides? We should have good relations with everyone,” he maintained.
The prime minister categorically said that Pakistan cannot be pressured to change its relations or downgrade its ties with China.
“The relationship between Pakistan and China is very deep. It’s not just the governments, but it’s a people-to-people relationship,” the premier said.
The prime minister further said when Pakistan had been in trouble politically, internationally, or had conflicts with its neighbour, China always stood by it.
The people of China have a special place in the hearts of Pakistanis, he said, adding: “You remember friends who stand with you at all times. In good times, everyone stands with you, but in difficult, tough, and bad times, you remember those people who stood by you.”
He said the people of Pakistan have that kind of fondness for the people of China.
The prime minister, to another question, said that the relationship between the two countries is growing stronger politically that Pakistan and China stand together in all the international fora.
Speaking about the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said it was "the biggest thing happening in Pakistan", and the direction in which its economic future was moving.
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