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Ambassador: Pakistani-China relationship remains strong

Matt Velker and Wang Ke
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, May 10, 2011
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This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan. In an exclusive interview with, Mr. Masood Khan, Pakistan's ambassador to China, discussed political, economic and military cooperation between the two nations.

1) Pakistan was one of the first countries to recognize the People's Republic of China in 1950 and has remained a steadfast ally over the 60 years since. What is the glue holding these two nations together? What makes the relationship so special? >>>>>>

2) Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani will visit China later this month and meet with a number of top Chinese officials. What can you tell me about the agenda for his visit? What outcomes should be expected from his talks with the Chinese government? >>>>>

3) Total Sino-Pakistani trade in 2010 was valued at US$8.7 billion, a 28% increase from 2009. This falls somewhat short of the US$15 billion trade volume goal both countries were working towards. What should we make of this figure? Is it a disappointment? What factors are at play affecting Sino-Pakistani trade? >>>>>

4) Pakistan has run a substantial trade deficit over the past several decades. It has grown rapidly since 2003 and stood at about US$14 billion in 2009. How large of a trade deficit does Pakistan run with China these days? Is China a significant part of the total deficit? Do you see Pakistan's deficit as a problem? What is Pakistan doing or should Pakistan do to fix it – particularly with regard to China? Pakistani exports to China grew more than 12% faster than its imports from the country last year on cotton yarn and mineral exports. Is this a trend or a fluke? Should we expect Pakistan's trade deficit with China to shrink? >>>>>

5) In 2009, China had contracting projects, labor co-ops and consulting contracts worth some US$18.49 billion with turnover of US$12.79 billion. How large a role has Chinese investment played in Pakistan's economic development? >>>>>

6) China announced plans last April for two more 340 megawatt nuclear reactors at the Chashma facility in Punjab province. Given the recent nuclear disaster at Japan's Fukushima plant, will construction go forward as planned? >>>>>

7) The US and others have complained that these plants violate terms of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and risk proliferation. Can Pakistan guarantee the security of nuclear material at these plants? >>>>>

8) Sino-Pakistani military cooperation has become increasingly extensive since the 1990s imposition of U.S. sanctions on Pakistan. Pakistan recently agreed to purchase an order of 36 of China's Chengdu J-10 fighter aircraft, worth some US$1.3 billion and is currently receiving eight F-22P Zulfiquar class frigates co-developed by the two nations. Where do you see military relations between China and Pakistan going in the future? What is the next step as this relationship develops? >>>>>

9) How should we view the role of India in the Sino-Pakistani relationship? Is China just a "high-value guarantor of security against India," as Pakistani ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani told CRF in 2006 or something more? Similarly, how should China view Pakistan? >>>>>

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