China and Pakistan

According to Juan Cole, Pakistan is tightening its relations with China, in the wake of the strained relationship with the US.

The interesting thing is how much more targeted China’s aid is; not money that will mostly go to rulers’ pockets; rather strategic infrastructure projects:

Pakistan wants China to build for it a naval base at Gwadar, a deep water port now managed by Singapore, but to which Chinese engineers and Chinese capital made key contributions. (There are 10,000 Chinese working in Pakistan nowadays.) The port was 75% financed by China.

When the lease on the port ends, China is being asked to step in to manage it. Pakistan is offering itself to China, in other words, as Hong Kong West. If China has standing access to the new naval base for its own growing fleet of military vessels, that opening would give it a new position in the Arabian Sea near the strategic Persian Gulf, which has nearly two-thirds of the world’s proven petroleum reserves and a significant amount of natural gas, as well.

Weapons are also part of the package.

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