WHY CHINA NEEDS PAKISTAN
China sees CPEC as serving two purposes: shoring up the teetering economy of its close ally which will also ensure a stable western periphery for China, and providing an outlet for its enterprises, struggling with overcapacity at home, to move projects overseas en masse. For China’s planners, the project also has strategic value in securing access to the Arabian Sea for energy imports, alleviating their ‘Malacca Dilemma’—long persisting fears that a rival power could block the narrow Malacca Straits and hold the Chinese economy hostage.
Chinese officials are at pains to point out that CPEC isn’t just empty talk. According to Zhao Lijian,