The Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) hosted a roundtable on October 31, 2019 with participants of the Trilateral Diplomatic Workshop at the Foreign Service Academy (FSA). Participants included young diplomats from Afghanistan, China and Pakistan. Ambassador Aftab Khokhar, Director General FSA was also in attendance. The agenda for the session was to discuss different facets of Pakistan’s foreign policy, particularly its relations with Afghanistan and China.
Ms. Shahroo Malik gave a power point presentation to the participants on the workings of ISSI.
Dr. Talat Shabbir, Director China-Pakistan Study Center (CPSC) gave a brief overview of the work and scope of CPSC. He said that the CPSC has been established for undertaking research and producing knowledge resources on all aspects concerning relations between Pakistan and China. The Centre provides policy inputs to the Government of Pakistan and other stakeholders on current and future direction of China-Pakistan relations.
Briefing the diplomats on Pakistan-China relations, Dr. Shabbir gave a brief history of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China. He said that since the establishment of diplomatic relations in May 1951, friendship with China has been the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy. The ‘all weather’ relationship is based on shared principles and interests. Pakistan firmly supports China on the issues concerning China’s core interests and China also firmly supports Pakistan in safeguarding its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Outlining Pakistan-China cooperation, he said that the relationship was initially based on security and defense cooperation, and was later diversified to encompass political, economic, education and trade areas. Just as this friendship has endured the geopolitical shifts of yesteryears, it seems poised to withstand the stresses of an international system that remains in flux, he said. In the field of defense, China has extended invaluable cooperation that extends to all three services. It has assisted Pakistan in setting up Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Heavy Industries Taxila, several production lines in the Pakistan Ordnance Factories, and maritime projects for the Navy and missile factories. The production of JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft at Aeronautical Complex Kamra stands out as a monumental cooperation between the two countries.