Beijing: Strengthening ties with Pakistan is a part of China’s neighborhood diplomacy and a way forward to implement President’s Xi “Belt and Road” vision, said Chinese experts on Foreign affairs.
China selected Pakistan as its first choice to implement the “Belt and Road” vision by pledging to participate in the building of an economic corridor linking its Gwadar Port in the southwest to China’s northwestern autonomous region of Xinjiang.
According to the experts, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor mega project, which is a network of highways, railways as well as pipelines to transport oil and gas, is economically vital to both China and Pakistan.
Cooperation over the project also provides China and Pakistan an opportunity to upgrade security cooperation and information sharing in the fight against the three evil forces of terrorism, separatism and religious extremism.
To a large extent, the corridor, along which a large amount of economic resources and actors are concentrated, will expand trade routes between China, the Middle East and Africa, provide fresh and strong impetus for the region’s economic development, and is thus welcomed by some other regional players.
The “Belt and Road” initiatives China has proposed to revive the ancient trade routes that span Asia, Africa and Europe have invigorated China’s neighborhood diplomacy, a key pillar of its diplomatic layout.
The reason is the initiatives of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, unveiled by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, are open and inclusive. They will not be a solo for China but a real chorus involving all countries along the routes, as Xi put it.
Chinese leaders have worked hard to align the “Belt and Road” initiatives with the development plans of the neighboring countries and paid successive visits to Southeast Asia.
Meanwhile, the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has won over most of China’s neighbors as founding members.
Since taking office in 2013, Xi has visited Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Mongolia and other countries in the Eurasian region to show China’s priorities in neighborhood diplomacy featuring amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness.
Most of these neighbors, which have close economic ties with China, have expressed willingness to link their own development strategies with the “Belt and Road” initiatives.
They are also the priorities in China’s cooperation with its western neighbors, for which the “Belt and Road” initiatives will unleash huge opportunities. Regional countries have reacted positively to China’s proposals.