Pakistan, China vow to enhance military ties

Published June 13, 2022
CHINA: A group photo of Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa with Vice Chairman Central Military Commission of China Gen Zhang Youxia.—APP
CHINA: A group photo of Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa with Vice Chairman Central Military Commission of China Gen Zhang Youxia.—APP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China have reaffirmed their strategic partnership in challenging times and agreed to continue the regular exchange of perspectives on issues of mutual interest.

Both sides also vowed to enhance their training, technology and counterterrorism cooperation at a tri-service level.

The two sides reiterated these commitments when a senior tri-service military delegation of Pakistan, headed by Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, visited China from June 9 to June 12.

During the visit, the two sides pledged to enhance their “training, technology and counterterrorism cooperation”, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a press release on Sunday.

The delegation held wide-ranging discussions with senior officials of the Chinese military and other government departments.

The apex meeting was held on June 12 in which the Pakistani side was headed by COAS Bajwa while the Chinese side was led by Vice Chairman Central Military Commission of China Gen Zhang Youxia, the ISPR said.

Both sides discussed their perspectives on the international and regional security situation and expressed satisfaction with the defence cooperation.

“Pakistan and China reaffirmed their strategic partnership in challenging times and agreed to continue the regular exchange of perspectives on issues of mutual interest,” the ISPR said, adding that both sides further vowed to enhance their training, technology and counterterrorism cooperation at the tri-service level.

Earlier this week, Chinese charge d’affaires Pang Chunxue and Pakistani leaders met at the seventh China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) media forum in Islamabad and warned of growing threats to the multibillion-dollar project from fake news and disinformation and emphasised the need for cooperation in countering it.

“False propaganda and disinformation on CPEC are on the rise. Hostile forces are trying to undermine the development of CPEC, as well as the unity and mutual trust between the two countries,” Ms Pang said.

CPEC has been widely projected in Pakistan as a game-changer that would influence the region’s geostrategic, geo-economic and geopolitical dynamics and as an answer to its infrastructure shortcomings.

At the same time, media reports spread scepticism about it by pointing to the possibility of Pakistan falling into China’s debt trap, the alleged absence of transparency in the projects and their environmental impact, especially coal-based power plants.

In his keynote speech at the last week’s gathering, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf underscored the importance of CPEC, describing it as the country’s best bet to become the region’s geo-economic hub but regretted that it had been “a victim of the malicious disinformation campaign” carried out by the “detractors” of CPEC and China.

Ms Pang also spoke of the seriousness of this challenge. “False propaganda and disinformation on CPEC are on the rise. Hostile forces are trying to undermine the development of CPEC, as well as the unity and mutual trust between the two countries,” she said.

Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2022

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