China a firm friend of Pakistan, says Li

  • Imtiaz Ahmad, Hindustan Times, Islamabad
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  • Updated: May 24, 2013 00:08 IST

Chinese Premier Li KeQiang, who is on an official visit to Pakistan, spent a busy day in Pakistan on Thursday, addressing the senate, meeting both the president and caretaker PM and also touching base with PM-in-waiting Mian Nawaz Sharif. Li’s message was that China remains a firm friend of Pakistan and is willing to help the country overcome its crises.

However, despite his talk of goodwill, there have been rumblings in Islamabad over the fact that Premier Li went to India first and then came to Pakistan. Analysts said that Pakistan being relegated “was of significance in terms of Pak-China relations,” according to foreign policy analyst Zafar Hilali.

But Li made all the right noises despite the underlying comments about Chinese intentions. In his speech to the senate, Li said that his country would continue to support Pakistan and promote bilateral relations in all fields in future. “Pakistan is a great country and a time tested friend of China. The rooted relations between the two countries will be further strengthened in the time to come,” Li said.

However, a report in The Express Tribune saidin the 12-year period between July 2000 and June 2012, net foreign investment in Pakistan amounted to $29 billion. Of that, just $0.8 billion came from China.

The paper said China’s investment in Pakistan is less than that of Netherlands, which invested $1.4 billion during that time. The US invested the most in Pakistan at $7.7 billion, or over a quarter of foreign investment in the country.


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