Xi Visit Takes Sino-Pakistani Ties to New Level
In his maiden official visit to Pakistan - which ended on April 21 - Chinese President Xi Jinping signed 51 accords to inaugurate the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which will create a network of roads, railways and pipelines linking China's restive west to the Arabian Sea through Pakistan. The deals are also expected to boost Pakistan's underperforming economy and generate employment opportunities in the country.
Xi also addressed the Pakistani parliament, pledging to work together with the South Asian nation and applauding Islamabad's efforts to curb terrorism and promised to stand by its neighbor in overcoming security challenges. A day earlier the leader of Asia's biggest economy was received with unprecedented fanfare in Islamabad.
But despite the enthusiasm and the more-than-ever cordial Sino-Pakistani ties, analysts say that Beijing's main interest in the Islamic country is to expand its reach across Central and South Asia in order to counter the US and Indian influence.
In an interview with DW, China expert Andrew Small, a fellow with the Asia program of German Marshall Fund of the United States, says the Chinese investment could be a major boost for the ailing Pakistani economy but the authorities will face a number of logistical, political and security challenge in the implementation of projects.