The Sino-Pakistani axis: Asia's 'little understood' relationship
China and Pakistan have been described as "all weather friends," but the nature of their ties remains secretive. DW talks to analyst Andrew Small, about some of the most sensitive aspects of this strategic relationship.
DW: How would you describe the nature of Sino-Pakistani relations?
Andrew Small: Although much of the language used to describe ties between the two sides can sound hyperbolic – "all-weather friends," "deeper than the deepest ocean," "sweeter than honey" – it reflects the unusual nature of a secretive relationship that is the only real friendship that either side has. Founded on a shared enmity for India, the relationship has in some respects run deeper than formal alliances, especially when it comes to nuclear cooperation, and has been remarkably resilient over the dramatic economic and geopolitical shifts of the last few decades.
China and Pakistan have never been treaty allies, do not share any cultural reference points or values, and even their militaries come from radically different traditions. Recent years have seen tensions over matters such as Uighur militants in Pakistan, and Chinese fears about Pakistan's "Islamization."
Yet the deep-rooted strategic alignment remains strong, and all the more so as the stabilization of China's western periphery becomes more important, as the terrorist threat in China worsens, and as China's need grows for reliable partners who can help facilitate its take-off as a global power.
Read full interview here.
Andrew Small is a transatlantic fellow with the Asia program of German Marshall Fund of the United States and author of the book "The China-Pakistan Axis - Asia's New Geopolitics." You can follow him on Twitter @ajwsmall.