Rumors have long been circulating that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is dying for various reasons along with the current government negligence.
In this regard, there are two popular narratives about the relationship between CPEC and Pak-China. One perspective that has floated in Pakistani society for a long time is that due to American and Indian pressure regarding CPEC and Chinese involvement in the country, Islamabad has stopped work on projects under CPEC. In addition, Pakistan has been pressured through the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to withdraw from Chinese investment in the country, therefore, Pakistan faces various difficulties in continuing the project.
Another perspective illustrates an optimistic picture of the whole scenario where work on the CPEC project is in progress and 13 projects worth $ 11 billion have been completed. Projects such as M-5 (Multan to Sukkur Motorway), 2 × 660MW Port Qasim Coal-Fired Power Plant, 50MW Dawood Wind Farm, and 100MW Jhimpir Wind Farm have been completed which demonstrate the progress and success of CPEC. Also, the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa and their talks about CPEC as well as the viewpoint on CPEC showed that both the Army and the government were on the same page to continue projects under CPEC.
In addition, the establishment of a CPEC Authority that maintains supervision of CPEC-related work is also evidence of the government’s seriousness regarding CPEC. Furthermore, the two representatives from Pakistan showed the intention to make relations between the two countries namely China and Pakistan stronger through involvement in various business and trade-related activities.
Although American pressure creates many difficulties for Pakistan to continue the project, there is still a lot of progress in many projects related to CPEC. In addition, America does not want China to rise at the regional or global level. In this regard, the United States is actively trying to fight Beijing for various reasons. Likewise, America’s “Pivot to Asia” policy aims to counter and limit Chinese influence in the Asian continent, including against its involvement in the Asia-Pacific.
However, Washington has tried to control Beijing but economic growth shows success. Therefore, this is considered the right time for Pakistan to shift its slope to China rather than an untrustworthy, unpredictable and weak alliance with America. Furthermore, Islamabad has tested and observed American friendships which remained largely seasonal and based on special problems after meeting their goals, Washington used to ignore Islamabad even in difficult times.
Pakistan through the proper use of the CPEC initiative can improve its economy and get rid of the American bloc that has a big hand in destruction, death, terrorism, underdevelopment and underdevelopment in the country. Many writers dub CPEC and Chinese involvement in Pakistan as a game changer that will bring Islamabad on the path to peace, prosperity, development, progress and innovation in various fields.
It was said that Pakistan could function as “Israeli China” for various reasons, perhaps economic, political or financial which could be useful for the development of Beijing and also Islamabad. Because Israel maintains many interests for the US and cannot compromise on its interests even at the expense of opposition and criticism from many countries. Such as Washington’s “Deal of the Century” includes its support in every global forum. In the same way, the South Asian region especially Pakistan is very important for China which can connect Beijing with various rich natural resource countries in the Middle East and Central Asia.
In addition, it also paved the way for Beijing by connecting it with many other important countries from various continents in the world. Because of this, China has struggled to create peace in the region. Furthermore, Afghanistan is a large country that suffers from instability and security problems which also have an effect on regional stability. Therefore, China wants to resolve the Afghanistan problem to make it stable which will pave the way for the completion of the China Road and Belt Initiative (BRI).
Regarding the Afghanistan problem, Beijing sees Islamabad as an important country that can play a decisive role in resolving the Afghanistan problem and bringing peace in the region so as to stop the long war on Afghan soil. Peace and stability in Afghanistan can serve a variety of Chinese interests because Kabul provides a land route for China to reach Central Asian countries which eventually connect it with Europe. Therefore, China has fought hard to secure its national interests. That can be easily achieved if China will succeed in producing dominance and influence over the South Asian region.
In addition, this region is considered as a test basis for the success of projects initiated by China namely BRI. As for the American bloc and other entities who are unhappy with the rise of China concerned, they also know the importance of this region for Beijing. Most agreed that the success of BRI depends on the success of project completion in this region. It is therefore observed that if Beijing will succeed in completing projects throughout South Asia than no one can defeat and fight China to become a dominant or global force. In this case, Washington will not let Beijing take its place easily. So he used a number of strategies to detain China such as pressuring Pakistan to withdraw from BRI, strengthen relations with India and extend the Afghan problem, and impose new sanctions on Iran.
*The writer is a Ph.D. Bachelor in the Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, Pakistan.
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