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Bolstering the Trajectory of Pakistan’s Strategic Ties with China

Islamabad, April 19, 2024, The Europe Today: The Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies (CASS), Lahore, hosted a seminar titled “Bolstering the Trajectory of Pakistan’s Strategic Ties with China” on 18 April 2024 to examine the dynamic partnership between the two countries and propose strategic recommendations to further solidify the Pakistan-China relationship.

The seminar began with opening remarks by Ambassador Muhammad Haroon Shaukat (Retd), Director of Foreign Affairs at CASS, Lahore, who emphasised the importance of Pakistan-China ties within the evolving regional landscape. This was followed by an address by Ambassador Masood Khalid (Retd), the former Pakistani envoy to the People’s Republic of China, who discussed China’s role in global and regional geopolitics. Ambassador Moin ul Haque (Retd), another former envoy to China, highlighted the importance of strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries. Dr Suhail Saleem, Director General of the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT), elaborated on the Special Economic Zones and industrial development in the context of Pakistan-China ties. Lastly, Dr Hassan Daud Butt, an Associate Professor at Bahria University, explored leveraging the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) beyond 2030 for sustainable economic growth and connectivity.

In his concluding remarks, Air Marshal Asim Suleiman (Retd), President CASS, Lahore, highlighted Pakistan’s deep and enduring friendship with China, forged through shared experiences and mutual trust. He hailed CPEC as a symbol of China’s confidence in Pakistan and a key factor in the latter’s progress. In the defence sector, he noted China’s collaboration with the Pakistan Armed Forces, highlighting the flagship project JF-17, the major induction of J-10C fighters, and the planned acquisition of J-31 Gyrfalcon Stealth Fighter.

The seminar brought forth several key points. The speakers unanimously stressed Pakistan’s need to prioritise cementing and diversifying its strategic partnership with China. Clearing impediments for Phase II of CPEC was emphasised for industrial growth in Pakistan. The seminar placed special emphasis on ensuring the safety of Chinese personnel working in Pakistan. Moreover, the government was urged to promote ease of doing business and to address the external trade gap with China. Finally, the seminar underscored the importance of avoiding bloc politics to foster mutually beneficial relations with great powers while maintaining strategic autonomy