Sunday, November 26, 2006

China and Pakistan Forge Ties

Sources: CNN Financial Times

China and Pakistan have agreed to cooperate on various fronts: military, economics, trade, energy, and anti-terrorism. Chinese president Hu Jintao and the Pakistani leader General Pervez Musharraf outlined a “30-point joint statement,” which included an increased effort to boost trade, military cooperation, regional instability, etc. Most importantly, this visit and cooperation agreement assures that China is abandoning a traditional rival as China and India have begun to build a relationship. Hu stated in a national address that China’s relationship with Pakistan are “higher than the Himalayas.” On the Pakistani side, a notable leader stated: “If there is one country in the world that Pakistan trusts completely, it’s got to China. Pakistan is anxious to build up ties with China, which it sees as the world’s most important ascending political, military, and economic power.”

China agreed to assist Pakistan in its efforts to continue its nuclear program—somewhat in an affront to the United States who has recently made similar agreements with long-time Pakistani rival, India. However, Hu pledged to help the nuclear power Pakistan resolve its longstanding conflict with India, especially over the Kashmir region.

Moreover, the trade agreements are projected to boost bilateral economic activity to at least $15 billion—a threefold increase from current levels of trade.

Finally, China and Pakistan have embarked upon some ambitious defense agreements. The two nations have been working on a joint fighter aircraft—known as the FC-1 (in China) or the JF-17 (in Pakistan). Furthermore, the two countries have embarked on a “joint development airborne early warning and control system” aircraft, as well as develop a “state of the art Defense Electronics Complex,” to be run jointly run by Pakistani and Chinese defense groups.

Question: With growing US cooperation with Pakistan on military/anti-terrorism affairs, how may these new agreements between Pakistan and China, the greatest “threat” to US economic superiority, affect cooperation between the US and Pakistan?

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