The ‘next seven decades’

It is suggested that China and Pakistan firmly put forward the construction of CPEC and seek a new growth point

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relationship between China and Pakistan. It is of even more specific and profound significance for both China and Pakistan to celebrate the event at a very high standard in the year 2021, which is characterised by the continuing wild-spread of the Covid-19 pandemic worldwide, with profound and complicated changes taking place in regional and international community.

Many countries nowadays are facing unprecedented challenges in the pursuit of peaceful coexistence, against a background of the rising trend of de-globalisation, protectionism and fragmented regional cooperation. However, thanks to the tender care of leaders of the two countries as well as the joint efforts made by the two peoples, China-Pakistan relations have overcome all sorts of challenges and difficulties over the past 70 years and set a high standard of bilateral relationship development mode for the whole world.

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, China and Pakistan have come together through thick and thin, supported each other with great sincerity, carried forward comprehensive cooperation and built an all-weather friendship. The word ‘Ba Tie’ in mandarin, which means ‘our iron-clad friends of Pakistan’ is universally recognized as a vivid representation of the deep friendship between China and Pakistan.

The sound and stable development of China-Pakistan relations is owed to the high-level strategic consensus as well as the comprehensive and deep public support of the two countries. Like the All-Weather Strategic Partnership of Cooperation, the two countries have increasingly experienced promotion of concrete cooperation. The construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) under the One Belt One Road framework has yielded fruitful results, the concept of China-Pakistan community for a shared future has gone deep into the hearts of the two peoples.

Each of the two countries has a long-lasting history and rich culture. China and Pakistan should enhance mutual appreciation and respect in terms of culture via intensified dialogue and exchanges.

Regarding regional and international affairs, the mutual trust between the two sides has continuously deepened, since China and Pakistan have extended firm support to each other in terms of issues involving one another’s core interests and major concerns.

The two sides have regularly communicated and coordinated through strategic affairs. Both countries clearly oppose any country seeking to be a regional bully or hegemon, and consistently join hands to contribute to maintain regional peace and stability, make their due share of efforts to counter risks, threats and challenges brought by evolving international and regional situations.

During the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic since the beginning of 2020, both countries have rushed to support each other’s domestic pandemic control, which demonstrated as a successful example of bilateral cooperation in fighting against the pandemic.

As a starting point for the ‘next seven decades’ for China-Pakistan relations, it is suggested that the two countries firmly put forward the construction of CPEC projects and seek a new growth point.

At the same time, in order to carry forward the traditional friendship between China and Pakistan from generation to generation, cultural foundations and public support should be further solidified through enhanced people-to-people exchanges.

Each of the two countries has a long history and rich culture. China and Pakistan should enhance mutual appreciation and respect in terms of culture via intensified dialogues and exchanges. In particular, communication between the youth of the two countries should be encouraged in order to strengthen the emerging power for China-Pakistan traditional friendship.

In this way, wonderful prospects can be expected in terms of intensifying bilateral concrete cooperation, tightening people-to-people links, together with a great leap forward for China-Pakistan All-Weather Strategic Partnership of Cooperation.

The writer is Deputy Director and Senior Research Fellow of the National Institute of International Strategy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (NIIS, CASS)

The ‘next seven decades’