Joint fight against terrorism

0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, May 18, 2011
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Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani started a four-day official visit to China on Tuesday. The visit, two weeks after the US killing of Osama bin Laden on May 2, is drawing a great deal of media attention around the world.

The US operation on Pakistani soil was carried out with Islamabad apparently kept in the dark. Since then, the two sides have collided over questions such as whether the US operation infringed upon Pakistan's sovereignty and whether Islamabad had been shielding world's No 1 terrorist in recent years.

Given the all-weather friendship between Beijing and Islamabad, there has been some speculation that Gilani's visit to China is a move to seek support amid the growing tensions in US-Pakistani ties.

But the traditional friendly relations between Beijing and Islamabad are long-standing and have withstood the test of time. Their stable and growing bilateral relationship does not target any third party, but rather contributes to regional peace and stability.

China hopes to see US-Pakistani relations improve as it is in the same boat with the two countries in fighting terrorism. Last week, during the third round of the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, Beijing and Washington agreed to hold the 8th US-China counter-terrorism consultation this year. Beijing also recognizes the important role that the US plays in the Asia-Pacific region.

The elimination of bin Laden does not necessarily mean the world can now slacken its vigilance and reduce its efforts against the global scourge of terrorism. The road for the international community to remove the root cause of terrorism remains long and arduous, demanding more international cooperation.

US Senator John Kerry visited Islamabad this week, becoming the first high-level American official to visit Pakistan since the death of the Al-Qaida leader. He will be followed by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

It is hoped this diplomacy will help mend the fences and deepen mutual trust between Islamabad and Washington, so that the two countries can continue their cooperation in the war against terror.

However, Pakistan's sincerity in the anti-terror crusade should not be questioned as the country has borne and continues to bear the brunt of international terrorism. In addition to the huge cost in human lives, direct and indirect Pakistani losses engendered from the fight against terrorism over the past 10 years have reached $100 billion.

Any over-interpretation of Gilani's ongoing visit to China will prove to be superficial and speculative.


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