Commonality of views strengthened the foundations of relations between Pakistan and China. A full harmonious relationship between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the People’s Republic of China looks quite “unusual” while preaching Islamic and communist ideologies respectively.
Both never competed with each other for the promotion of their ideologies.
Even the border was not an issue between them at all, which they agreeably solved within thirteen years after the establishment of their diplomatic ties. What drove them too fast was not competition or confrontation but their keen desire to forge good neighbourly ties with each other.
Even before the creation of Pakistan in 1947, there had been an indirect political harmony of ideas between the leaders of All India Muslim League and Communist Party of China (CPC). Realising the severe contrast between the thinking of a revolutionary and constitutional leader, both persuaded a nationalist agenda. Their political leadership was democratic in their own fashions. Mao Zedong wanted to create a Communist state, while Quaid-i-Azam wanted to create a democratic Muslim state. But no one knew at that time that they will be become indispensible partners of each other.
Imperialism was a common evil they fought with. The CPC was founded in 1921 in Shanghai, fifteen years after the All-Indian Muslim League was created in 1906 in Dhaka. Both parties were led by great visionary leaders who never compromised on their principle stand.
Both fought against imperialists in their respective manners. Both fought against foreign imperialists and internal foes as well. The CPC fought against the Japanese imperialists and Kuomintang (KMT) and League fought against the British imperialists on the one hand, and Hindu imperialists, on the other hand. Both succeeded in their struggles.
Pakistan is the cornerstone of the Chinese foreign policy. So is Pakistan in China’s foreign policy. Ever since the establishment of the diplomatic ties between Pakistan and China in 1950s, Pakistan played a momentous role in ending the isolation of China as an independent country in world’s affairs. It was Pakistan’s diplomacy that induced the United States to open a dialogue with China and to recognise it as the sole legitimate government of the people of China. The action led many other countries to normalise relations with China in the 1970s including Japan.
The Sino-Japanese war is the most crucial theatre in history of wars. During the long span of 1894 to 1945, Japan significantly occupied Manchuria and Nanking for fairly quite some time. Historians often talk about Japanese brutal and inhuman treatment of Chinese in their occupied territories, atrocities, ridiculing Chinese women by Japanese imperial army as sexual slaves (generally known as comfort women), and systemic genocide of people at Nanking.
Is it the “surrender” of Japan or “victory” of China? Chinese celebrate it as their victory against Japanese brutal rule and Japanese consider it as their “surrender” to the Allied Forces – not to Chinese forces. For Japanese, the dropping of the two atom bombs on its cities, however, altered the course of war against Japanese successes.
In fact, Chinese resistance and American dropping of atom bombs made the Japanese to surrender. Estimates say that nearly three million Japanese soldiers died in wars of which mostly died on the Chinese soil.
Today, the United States and Japan are staunch allies. Both are countering China. Japan has been questioning Chinese possessions of a number of islands in South China Sea. Once again, China has been defending its soil. China is apprehensive of Japan’s military revival as the bill is under debate at the National Diet, which intends to give a much larger role to its Self-Defence Forces (SDF).
Nevertheless, Chinese contribution to the Pacific War was amazing. Their firmed resistance made the Allied Powers to win the war against Japan. US President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill appreciated the Chinese resistance as this stopped the Japanese march toward India, Australia, and British possessions in the Middle East etc.
Chinese heroic resistance indirectly favoured the idea of the creation of Pakistan during the 1940s. After an extensive research, it is my considered view that Pakistan would not had become a reality if Japanese had ousted the British from India during World War II as Japanese were not interested in the demand for the creation of Pakistan as a separate country out of the division of British India as was demanded by the League.
Imperial Japanese headquarters in Tokyo made Subhas Chandra Bose, a former President of the All-India National Congress and an ultra revolutionary who fled to Tokyo from Germany, to command the Indian National Army (INA) under Japanese control in Singapore. He was an ardent supporter of a “United India”. The INA fought side by side with Japanese army in South East Asia and with their outstanding success in Burma, they targeted east India and bombarded at Calcutta and Chittagong from Imphal border (Manipur) with Burma.
The League extended its fullest support to the British authorities against Japanese threat. The Chinese resistance against the Japanese weakened their command toward India and the British not only won the war to defend India, they also fulfilled their promise under the Cripps’ Proposals (1942) to implement the scheme of Pakistan. This vital aspect of Chinese resistance and its indirect impact on the demand for the creation of Pakistan should rightly be understood.
On 3 September China celebrated 70th anniversary of its victory against Japanese imperial forces. Over 12,000 soldiers of Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) along with 1000 troops from 17 countries of which the largest from Pakistan participated at the victory parade at the Tiananmen Square in Beijing. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President Mamnoon Hussain, President Vladimir Putin, and South Korean President, Park Geun-hie, among thirty heads of state, witnessed the parade with the latest Chinese weaponry.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe skipped the victory parade. The South China Morning Post wrote on 2 September that ‘only true friends of China will attend the 70th anniversary parade’. Most of Western nations stayed away too. Notable of them was President Barack Obama. Japan objected Ban Ki-moon’s presence at the ceremony.
“China’s contribution and sacrifice during the Second World War is very much recognised, (China is) appreciated for all such sufferings, and sympathised by the world’s people,” Ban Ki-moon told.
China possesses a highly disciplined army. Japan is not behind either in discipline and sophisticated weaponry. An outbreak of war between them is unthinkable. Solutions do not lie in victory or defeat of any nation as history reveals. They have to live up with each other. In a bid to cut down thirteen percent of the strength of PLA in just one go is a marvellous and a remarkable step toward peace building initiative in East Asia.
This was, perhaps, the sole reason for inviting Abe at the parade to witness this historic development. There are absolute realities of wars but also there are absolute victories and sorrows of war too. Xi captured that notion. Anti-Japanese and anti-Chinese rhetoric should come down, at least officially. Somewhere we to make an end and commence a good start! An early meeting between the leaders of two countries should be convened as soon as possible.
Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ISS or of the Government of Pakistan.