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China tries to tone down on Pak

india Updated: May 19, 2011 01:10 IST
Reshma Patil
Reshma Patil
Hindustan Times
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Beijing on Wednesday tried to downplay its growing bond with Islamabad, with an official editorial indicating that China does not want to be seen as an alternative to the US for Pakistan.

Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani is in China this week, while the Chinese general Chen Bingde is patching up military ties with the US.

While the Pakistan media and diplomats hyped Gilani's visit and flaunted Beijing's backing, state-run Chinese television and newspapers began to downplay the visit with minimal commentary from Beijing's official think tankers. Most reports were based on statements by Pakistan.

"There has been some speculation that Gilani's visit to China is a move to seek support amid growing tensions in US-Pakistan ties,'' said the state-run China Daily editorial on Wednesday. "Any over-interpretation of Gilani's ongoing visit to China will prove to be superficial and speculative."

The foreign policy mouthpiece said Pakistan's sincere anti-terror 'crusade' should not be questioned, but pointedly noted that China also wants US-Pakistan relations to improve as it is in 'the same boat' in fighting terror.

Pakistan has turned to its all-weather ally for greater economic aid, infrastructure and defense cooperation to counter declining ties with Washington after the raid on bin Laden in Abbottabad.

The two sides will sign agreements for Chinese aid in building highways, rail and communications between China and Pakistan. China is silent on key details of the package it will offer Pakistan, especially in defense and nuclear cooperation.

China and Pakistan leaders effusively described the future of their ties. "No matter what changes might take place in the international landscape, China and Pakistan will remain forever good neighbours, good friends, good partners and good brothers," Premier Wen Jiabao told Gilani.

Earlier in eastern Suzhou, Gilani told a world cultural forum that Pakistan wished to see China shape the 21st century world.

"I have no doubt that Chinese sagacity and thought will have a profoundly beneficial impact for mankind."