Pakistan is likely to turn to China to develop its military and technical cooperation after President Donald Trump administration’s decision of giving access to Islamabad of $225 million worth of military assistance only with a condition that it takes more action against terror groups. “No doubt, Pakistan will try to develop its military and technical cooperation with China, an issue that will certainly top the agenda of the Beijing talks. As for whether China will be able to replace the US in terms of giving military aid to Pakistan, it is a question which can be answered in the future,” Sputnik quoted Russian expert Natalya Zamarayeva as saying.
Islamabad may turn to China in a bid to resolve the issue, Zamarayeva of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences commented on the U.S. State Department’s decision to suspend military aid to Pakistan. She referred to Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif’s visit to China to support her argument that followed after Trump accused Islamabad of habouring terrorists. She pointed to the ongoing power struggle in Pakistan, saying that the transition period is likely to last until the parliamentary elections in the country, which are slated for in 2018. According to her, Islamabad has already begun to adjust its domestic and foreign policy amid the increasing clout of the Pakistani military. She said that Islamabad is specifically focusing on issues related to its cooperation with China, India and Afghanistan.
Chinese political analyst Zhang Li who wasn’t enthusiastic about Beijing quickly deciding to offer Islamabad a helping hand in terms of a military aid, said, “Despite a variety of contacts between China and Pakistan, I don’t think that the US decision to suspend military aid to Pakistan can prompt China to cooperate with Islamabad on the matter.” The Trump administration notified Congress on Wednesday that it was putting $255 million in military assistance to Pakistan into the equivalent of an escrow account that Islamabad can only access if it does more to crack down on internal terror networks launching attacks on neighboring Afghanistan.
In August, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang met Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and said China and Pakistan are “iron friends” and all-weather partners of strategic cooperation, who always support each other and pledged to deepen their pragmatic cooperation in various fields so as to ensure early harvests in the CPEC project. Wang, who attended the flag hoisting ceremony and activities marking the 70th anniversary of Pakistan’s independence at the invitation of the Pakistani government at Islamabad’s Convention Centre, said China and Pakistan had stood by each other in difficult times and “this friendship will stand the test of time and grow with coming generations”.