China piv­otal ...

Pakistan Observer - - IN­TER­NA­TIONAL -

She cited the China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CPEC) as the most am­bi­tious and po­ten­tially game chang­ing ex­am­ple of re­gional eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion.

Ex­pound­ing on the Pak­istan-China re­la­tion­ship, the en­voy said the strate­gic evo­lu­tion of this re­la­tion­ship has given the Sino-Pak part­ner­ship added sig­nif­i­cance at a time of a fun­da­men­tal change in the global bal­ance of power brought about by China’s rise as a global eco­nomic pow­er­house.

In re­cent years, she said, bi­lat­eral ties have broad­ened and di­ver­si­fied from the tra­di­tional fo­cus on de­fence and mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion to­wards a greater eco­nomic and in­vest­ment ori­en­ta­tion.

She de­scribed CPEC as a crit­i­cal link in China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ ini­tia­tive, as a man­i­fes­ta­tion of the di­rec­tion this key re­la­tion­ship is tak­ing.

“This project will bring greater pros­per­ity to the peo­ple of the re­gion and be­yond,” she said.

On how Pak­istan will bal­ance its re­la­tions with China with those with the United States, Lodhi said to those who as­cribe a zero-sum na­ture to Pak­istan’s re­la­tions with China and US, a re­call of his­tory would help to in­val­i­date this no­tion.

Pak­istan played a cen­tral role in one of the most dramatic episodes of the Cold War, the open­ing up to China by former US Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon, be­cause it en­joyed good re­la­tions with both China and the US, she said.

Pak­istan in­tends to play the same role in the fu­ture and main­tain good re­la­tions with both even as the two en­gage in global com­pe­ti­tion, she said.

With India, Am­bas­sador Lodhi said, Pak­istan seeks to nor­mal­ize re­la­tions by find­ing po­lit­i­cal solutions to out­stand­ing dis­putes.

While Islamabad has re­peat­edly urged Delhi to re­sume the broad-based, com­pre­hen­sive peace process India has yet to agree and has in­stead sig­naled it is only in­ter­ested in talking about ter­ror­ism. This, she said, does not make the prospects of diplo­matic progress too bright.

On Afghanistan, she re­sponded to a ques­tion about Pres­i­dent Ashraf Ghani’s lat­est state­ment, by say­ing that ad­vo­cat­ing in­ten­si­fied mil­i­tary ac­tion against the in­sur­gency seems to run counter to the firm in­ter­na­tional con­sen­sus, which is that a po­lit­i­cal solution is the only vi­able way to bring peace to Afghanistan.

This is what Pak­istan has urged and rec­om­mended for the past decade or more, she said. She re­minded the au­di­ence that for the past 14 years, a mil­i­tary solution to the con­flict within Afghanistan has proved elu­sive.

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