Prime minister describes as ‘unfair’ attempts by Western states to force countries to pick sides, stresses desire of ‘good relationship’ with everyone
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday stressed that the “deep” relationship between Pakistan and China encompassed their people and governments, adding that any attempts to downgrade these ties will not succeed.
“It’s not just [ties with] the government, it’s a people-to-people relationship,” he told the English-language China Global Television Network in an interview. “No matter what pressure is put on us, [bilateral relationship] is not going to change,” he added.
To journalist Liu Xin asking how ties between the two neighbors would be shaped in future, Khan reiterated that the people of China had a special place in the hearts of the people of Pakistan. “You only remember a friend who stands with you in your difficult times. In good times, everyone stands with you. But in your difficult, tough times, bad times, you remember those people who stood by you,” he said.
“Whenever Pakistan was in trouble, politically or internationally, when we had conflicts with our neighbor [India], China always stood with us… everyone here remembers,” he said. “So, this relationship has only gotten stronger.” He said one of the biggest successes of the bilateral relationship was the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative.
“Number one is trade. The CPEC is right in front of you… It’s the biggest thing happening in Pakistan. For us, this is where we think our economic future is moving towards. So, this is a big economic future in Pakistan,” he said. “And then there’s a political relationship. And political relationship has got stronger. Because whatever happens in every international forum, Pakistan and China stand together,” he added.
No change possible
P.M. Khan regretted that a “strange and great power rivalry” was underway between China and the U.S.
“The U.S. is being wary of China. And I don’t need to say this as it is public knowledge—the way China and the U.S. are looking at each other. So, it creates a problem,” he said, pointing to Washington’s formation of the Quad regional alliance—comprising the U.S., India, Japan, and Australia. “So, from that point of view, Pakistan thinks that it is very unfair of the U.S. and other Western powers [to make] countries like Pakistan take sides. Why do have to take sides? We should have good relations with everyone,” he added.
At the onset of the interview, journalist Liu Xin noted that it was significant because it coincided with the Communist Party of China celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding, and Islamabad and Beijing marked the 70th anniversary of their bilateral diplomatic relations.