China, Pakistan joined in bonds of brotherhood

17:02, May 18, 2011      

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Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's visit to China on May 17 is an important event of the "2011 China-Pakistan Friendship Year" and will certainly open a new chapter in China-Pakistan relations under the new international environment and historical conditions. History has proven that as neighboring countries with different ideologies, the relationship between China and Pakistan is rock-solid and timeless, and the most important reason is the solid foundation that holds together China-Pakistan relations.

First, the China-Pakistan relationship is based on mutual respect regarding core interests. China has always firmly supported Pakistan's efforts to defend its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. It has also sincerely and selflessly helped Pakistan to achieve economic and social development.

Due to special causes in various aspects, such as historical and tribal influences, the "three forces" headed by the "East Turkistan Islamic Movement" has existed for a long time in the tribal areas at the Pakistani-Afghan border. However, China has always respected Pakistan's sovereignty when combating the "three forces" jointly with Pakistan and understands Pakistan's enormous sacrifices and significant contributions in the forefront of the international fight against terrorism.

Pakistan has also always supported China's sovereignty and territorial integrity in major issues related to the Taiwan region, Tibet Autonomous Region and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Second, China and Pakistan have been working together to meet various challenges for many years. China provided great political and economic assistance to Pakistan during the Cold War and helped it build an independent economic system. Pakistan served as a bridge for the establishment of China-U.S. diplomatic relations and helped break the diplomatic isolation China once suffered.

China has provided aid to Pakistan with no strings attached. Furthermore, it has played an active role in helping Pakistan build roads, ports, energy facilities and other major infrastructure projects in hopes that the country can stand on its own feet someday. Shortly after the Wenchuan earthquake, Pakistan sent all its tents in reserve to China. The friendship between the two countries began during adversity and has demonstrated incomparable sincerity.

Third, the China-Pakistan friendship has been deeply ingrained in the peoples of both sides through frequent exchanges at all levels over the past 60 years. The Chinese people, be they top officials or ordinary citizens, can feel the friendliness of the local people when they visit Pakistan and vice versa. The Pakistani people believe that a good neighbor is a blessing, and the Chinese people also believe that a neighbor that is near is better than a brother far off. The two countries are good neighbors and good friends. Their friendship has become a firm belief and an example of the peaceful coexistence of the Chinese and Islamic civilizations.

Currently, China and Pakistan regard each other as a diplomatic cornerstone and a major supporter. The 60-year development of China-Pakistan relations shows that such brotherly and neighborly all-around relations are characterized by long-term stability, highly strategic importance and sustainability. China-Pakistan relations can advance in three major aspects in the future. The first is enormous economic and trade cooperation potential.

China has become Pakistan's third largest trade partner, which does not match the scale of the two countries' combined population of 1.5 billion. China will further expand its direct investments in Pakistan, participate in Pakistan's major infrastructure and engineering projects and strive to make land transport links between the two countries more smooth in order to enable the people in the two countries to share the outcomes of economic development.

The second is the bright prospects of regional cooperation between China and Pakistan. Pakistan is a major country in South Asia and has significant influence in the Islamic world. China will cooperate with Pakistan to promote regional cooperation and jointly preserve regional stability and security in the post-anti-terrorism era.

The third is the broad space for international cooperation between Pakistan and China. China and Pakistan have common interests and a broad consensus in major international issues such as U.N. reforms, climate change as well as food and energy security. The two countries will cooperate to cope with the challenges of economic globalization and advance the world's harmonious and sustainable development.

As all-around partners and good brothers sharing weal and woe, China and Pakistan have jointly undergone a tough and glorious journey. Looking into the future, China and Pakistan will stand together regardless of any change in regional and international situations and work together to shape a bright future for the China-Pakistan friendship.

(The author Fu Xiaoqiang is a research fellow at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations. The article is translated by People's Daily Online)

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