Interview: Andrew Small on China-Pakistan Ties
Andrew Small is an Asia expert at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. His research focuses on U.S.-China relations, Europe-China relations and Chinese policy in South Asia. Author of The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics, he recently spoke with Muhammad Akbar Notezai about China-Pakistan relations.
What mutual interests do you see between China and Pakistan?
The longest-standing mutual interest for China and Pakistan has been the leverage that the two sides gain in their rivalries with India, which has underpinned Sino-Pakistani security cooperation for decades. Many other things have flowed from that, including the trust that China placed in Pakistan to act as a broker for establishing other critical relationships – most famously with the United States, but also with Saudi Arabia and the Taliban. Technological cooperation – particularly on the military and nuclear side – has also been an important area from which both sides benefited. Mutual diplomatic support and intelligence coordination round out the list. The weakest area, however, has been on the trade and commercial side – the basic deal should be that China benefits from Pakistan’s strategic economic geography, including transport links to the Indian Ocean, while Pakistan benefits from Chinese investment. For a whole assortment of reasons that hasn’t quite come off. The new China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is the best shot the two sides have at realizing these ambitions, and if they succeed, the security and political aspects of the relationship would also be considerably reinforced...