Topics: Pakistan, Silk Road, Central Asia Pages: 29 (5371 words) Published: December 19, 2012
IPCS Special Report 26
June 2006
Urvashi Aneja
Research Officer, IPCS
2006 marks the 55th anniversary of
diplomatic relations between China
and Pakistan. The bi-lateral
relationship between the two countries
has endured as a relatively
uninterrupted, trust-bound and ‘all
weather relationship’. This tactical
friendship has survived numerous
geo-strategic changes including
improving Sino-Indian relations from
1989 onwards, the collapse of the
Soviet Union, developments post 9/11
especially with Pakistan as a frontline
state in the war against terror as well
as the recent Indo-US strategic
convergence. Furthermore, with
developments over Iran and North
Korea, the Indo-US nuclear deal and
Pakistan’s failure to reach a similar
agreement with Washington, it
becomes important to examine Sino-
Pak relations, especially while new
agreements are signed, and high level
visits exchanged. The following
report, while providing a historical
context, will outline relations between
China and Pakistan in the first half of
2006 and attempt to provide an insight
into the significance of developments
between the two nations.
Pakistan recognized the People’s
Republic of China in 1950, being the
third non-communist state and the
first Muslim state to do so, following
which the two nations established
formal diplomatic relations. Bilateral
relations were further emphasised at
the Bandung Conference in 1955,
where talks between the two heads of
state played an important role in
promoting understanding, and
developing friendly relations and cooperation
between the two countries.
In 1961, Pakistan furthered relations
when it voted for a bill concerning the
restoration of China’s legitimate rights
in the UN.
Deterioration in Sino-Indian relations,
which culminated in the 1962 war,
provided further opportunities for
Sino-Pak cooperation and in 1963 both
countries signed an agreement on
border relations, and the construction
of a road linking China’s Xinjian-
Uygur autonomous region with the
northern areas of Pakistan. They
signed their first trade agreement in
1963 and, in the years that followed,
diplomatic exchanges increased
significantly. Their strategic
partnership was initially driven by the
mutual need to counter the Soviet
Union and India, and China supported
Pakistan in its two wars against India,
in 1965 and 1971, with both military
and economic assistance. The military
alliance led further to the creation of a
Joint Committee for Economy, Trade
and Technology in 1982, and China
IPCS Special Report 26
June 2006
soon began, in the late 1980s,
discussing the possible sales of M-11
missiles and related technology to
In 1996, Chinese President Jiang
Zemin paid a state visit to Pakistan
during which the two countries
decided to establish a comprehensive
friendship. Relations since then have
continued on the same steady path,
especially as the United States, after
the events of 9/11, expressed a new
strategic commitment to India. In
2005, China and Pakistan signed a
landmark Treaty of Friendship and
Co-operation, whereby they
committed that “neither party will join
any alliance or bloc which infringes
upon the sovereignty, security and
territorial integrity” of either nation,
while simultaneously positing that
both parties “would not conclude
treaties of this nature with any 3rd
In sum, during the post Cold War era,
China emerged as Pakistan’s most
important strategic guarantor vis-a-vis
India. China was the source of initial
design information for Pakistan’s
nuclear weapons and assisted with the
building of the latter’s nuclear
technology complex. On the whole,
China has been Pakistan’s most
important source of modern
conventional weaponry and a vital
source of trade and investment.2
Moreover, given the American
1 “Treaty...
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