China’s support and way forward


China has spoken in support of Pakistan, following US president Donald Trump’s hostile remarks. Trump’s tweet rightly sparked outrage amongst all sections of Pakistani society when he accused Pakistan of ‘lies and deceit’ in its relationship with the US.
Following China’s remarks, Pakistan can rest assured of continued backing in the future. However, questions remain about what Chinese support may really enable for us, and whether that alone is something we can rely on.
That China has expressed confidence in Pakistan’s anti-terror efforts is surely a morale booster, but it must not be forgotten that it is a dividend of bilateral ties that have strengthened over the past few years in view of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.
What we need is to similarly use diplomacy in our bilateral ties with the US and regional actors, particularly Afghanistan and India. That will require heightened efforts to share with the international community our achievements and sacrifices in the fight against terrorism and our plans to plug any existing loopholes.
Tuesday’s meeting of the National Security Council was the correct way to begin this process. Though the focus must remain on highlighting our achievements and losses, and not on empty sloganeering.
While the executive branch of the US government is currently occupied by a man who expresses extreme imprudence in his conduct, we can still look out for those in the US security and political establishment wiling to engage at a more rational level. The foreign ministry and our embassies in the US will have to play a leading role in this regard. While the backing of our biggest economic partner is a valuable asset, Pakistan should be careful not to make its ‘all weather friend’, China, into a diplomatic crutch, which may inevitably erode relations with the rest of our neighbours.
It is high time Pakistan should recognise its weaknesses at the diplomatic level, and start work to overcome them.