Wang Li

On March 22, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Islamabad, where they reaffirmed bilateral relations and discussed issues involving Afghanistan and Ukraine.

Wang Yi arrived in Islamabad to attend the 48th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). It shows China’s support to Pakistan bilaterally and the importance China attaches to the OIC, which has 57 member states representing a population of nearly 2 billion people and having vast and rich natural and human resources.

Internationally, the OIC identifies itself as “the collective voice of the Muslim world” to protect and conserve the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of encouraging peace and harmony. In addition, the OIC has working links with international organizations like the European Union and the United Nations, here to mention only a few.

Chinese FM Wang Yi spoke highly of the increasing strategic consultations and close ties between China and Pakistan. Beijing has reliable access to the Middle East and the Islamic world.

Accordingly, China has expressed a sincere and strong willingness to work with its ironclad brother to promote cooperation in various fields. For sure, the traditional friendship between China and Pakistan is the decision of the two governments and the choice of the two peoples to echo the strategic necessities in the region and the world.

At this crucial moment when the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine have raged, the U.S.-led allies have imposed unilateral and indiscriminating sanctions against Russia, which launched the “special military operation” against Ukraine.

Given this, China is ready to expand practical cooperation in various fields, support Chinese enterprises in investing in Pakistan, and improve its self-driven and sustainable development capability in the region and the Islamic world.

In a practical sense, a stable and prosperous Islamic world, including Pakistan, will be strategically benefiting the rise of China, which has been seen as a potential rival and strategic competitor to the U.S. unilateral world order.

The Foreign Ministers of the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan in the post-war reconstruction in Afghanistan as Prime Minister Imran Khan said that China-Afghanistan-Pakistan cooperation is conducive to achieving stability in the war-torn country and promoting its pivotal role in regional connectivity.

The two sides also fully affirmed the positive role of China in the China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue. The two countries are determined to work jointly to build the Belt and Road Initiative and promote the extension of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects in Afghanistan and beyond.

China and Pakistan also discussed the Ukrainian issue as all-weather strategic partners for more than a half-century. Given the scenario and the uncertain trend in  Ukraine, the two sides expressed concern over the spillover effects of unilateral sanctions on Russia. Once again, China and Pakistan called for a ceasefire through diplomatic dialogue in light of international law and the UN Charter.

Meanwhile, the two countries underscored that, based on the principle of indivisible security, a fundamental solution to the Ukrainian issue would be found to create a balanced, effective, and sustainable European security architecture.

Remarkably, Prime Minister Imran Khan urged the foreign ministers of the OIC’s 57 member states to think about how it could help mediate a ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia. Prime Minister also discussed how the OIC and China could try to stop this conflict, which is creating such significant consequences for all nations as the increasing prices of oil, gas, and wheat.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi sincerely appreciated the role of the OIC as a bridge between China and the Muslim world as he talked to the international issues of mutual concern. It is equally significant that the two sides reiterated their value of the long-standing and deep-rooted historical relations between China and the Muslim world.

China is opposed to the theory of clashes of civilizations and pushes forward the “four partnership between China and the Islamic world. These are to be partners of solidarity and coordination, partners of development and revitalization, partners of security and stability, and partners of mutual learning among civilizations.”

In brief, China and Pakistan have opposed creating division and confrontation by drawing ideological lines, opposed to the ideas of “clash of civilizations,” and opposed to the distortion and discredit of non-Western civilizations. In so doing, China must approach the Islamic world, and Pakistan is sure to play a pivotal role in this enduring task.

*The writer is Professor School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA), at the Jilin University, China.

**The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not necessarily represent those of the Institutions. 

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