Osama brings China, Pakistan, US closer

By Han Hua
0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, May 20, 2011
Adjust font size:

US Navy SEALs launched a secret operation in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad to kill Osama bin Laden which, the US says, is a victory in its war on terrorism.

The killing of bin Laden, however, has made many people question the legality of the US' unilateral action in Pakistan, Pakistani "support networks" for the Al-Qaida leader, and future US-Pakistani partnership in the fight against terrorism.

While discussing the reported row between the US and Pakistan, some US media outlets have unnecessarily dragged China into the debate. They have even speculated about China's reaction to bin Laden's death.

Quoting Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Jiang Yu's statement, one US newspaper said that China initially welcomed bin Laden's death as a positive development but later went "out of its way to praise Islamabad for its anti-terrorist stance". The report concluded that the tension between the US and Pakistan had offered "Beijing a chance to wean its oldest regional ally off its dependence on US security assistance".

To begin with, Jiang's defense of Pakistan has nothing to do with Washington's doubts over Islamabad's commitment in the hunt for bin Laden. Jiang's affirmative reply to a question about whether Beijing believed Islamabad's claim that it didn't have prior knowledge of the US operation shows China's consistent stance on Pakistan. And that should not be interpreted as China's attempt to dissuade Pakistan from supporting the US in its war on terrorism.

Indeed, China and Pakistan have enjoyed an "all-weather" friendship for six decades, and the death of bin Laden will not change that. China is aware of the dangers of extremism and Talibanization spreading across Pakistan, but it appreciates Pakistan's determination to combat terrorists and militants and recognizes the sacrifice Islamabad has made in the war on terrorism.

Sino-Pakistani friendship reflects China's "good neighborhood" policy. It's this policy that has strengthened China's ties with all its neighbors, including countries in South Asia.

As a country facing terrorist threats itself, China has worked and coordinated with the US, which is leading the war on terrorism. Since 2001, Beijing and Washington have cooperated in anti-terrorism activities, even though they have somewhat different views on the concept of "terrorism" and the approach that the anti-terrorist strategy should take.

The US lays more emphasis on military raids and strategic operations, whereas China prefers economic development, which Chinese people believe is the only way terrorism can be eradicated from the roots. But China and the US both want a stable and moderate Pakistan.

In the post-bin Laden era, Sino-Pakistani cooperation in the fight against terrorism will continue. Washington, on its part, is likely to continue its cooperation with Islamabad, because terrorism has not died with bin Laden and the US still needs Pakistan's logistical and military support in its campaign against Al-Qaida and Taliban.

US Senator John Kerry was in Islamabad a couple of days ago to try to restore the "damaged" US-Pakistani relations. And US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Islamabad soon to reassure Pakistan of her country's commitments.

So instead of creating a gulf in relations, the death of bin Laden has offered a chance to Pakistan, the US and China to work together to combat terrorism. After all, the three countries' anti-terrorism mission is still very much on.

The author is an associate professor at Peking University's School of International Studies.

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comments

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter