China declared Pakistan an ‘irreplaceable and all-weather friend’ as army chief General Raheel Sharif held high-profile meetings in Beijing on the last day of his two-day official China trip.
Gen Raheel met senior Chinese leaders, including State Leader and Chairman People’s Conference Yu Zhengheng and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, said the military spokesperson in his short messages on micro-blogging site Twitter.
ISPR Director General Maj-Gen Asim Salim Bajwa, who is traveling with the army chief, said that the Chinese leaders backed Pakistan’s efforts to eradicate militant groups without any discrimination.
He quoted the Chinese foreign minister as saying that “Pakistan is China’s irreplaceable, all-weather friend and that both the countries are part of shared heritage”.
State Leader Yu said Pakistan has always stood by China in difficult times. “Pakistan is our most reliable friend. The Chinese government and people of China stand by Pakistan and will help it in all respects,” he added.
Meng Jianzhu, member Politburo, the second highest council within the Communist Party assured the army chief that China has consistent policy on Pakistan that is beyond individuals, adding that Pakistan’s concern is China’s concern.
Gen Raheel thanked the Chinese leaders for inviting him, saying the world must understand the evolving environment. “Greater international focus, coordination is needed to end the fight against terrorism.”
Gen Raheel’s trip coincided with US President Barack Obama’s visit to India where he and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to enhance their defence and security cooperation.
The increased Indo-US collaboration is seen as an attempt to curtail the rise of China in the region. In the changing geo-political scenario, relationship between Pakistan and China has become even more important.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 27th, 2015.
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