Pakistan's political turmoil won't affect all-weather ties, says China
China says Pakistan's political turmoil won't affect all-weather ties; oppose external interference
China said on Monday that the political changes in Pakistan leading to the Imran Khan government’s ouster will not affect the all-weather ties “whatsoever” and expressed its firm opposition to any "external interference" in Islamabad's internal affairs.
Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government was ousted from power through a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly on Sunday.
Khan, 69, who became the first premier in Pakistan’s history to be voted out of power after losing the trust of the House, has claimed that the no-confidence motion was the result of a “foreign conspiracy” plotted by the US because of his independent foreign policy.
“We noted some changes in the political circles of Pakistan,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here on Monday, while answering a question about the fall of Khan’s government and its impact on Pak-China ties.
“As a close neighbour and ironclad friend, we sincerely hope all parties in Pakistan will maintain solidarity and jointly uphold stability and development in their country,” Zhao said.
“No matter how the political affairs in Pakistan may change, China will firmly adhere to our friendly policy to Pakistan and we don't believe the political change will affect the bilateral relations whatsoever,” he said.
Asked about Khan’s allegation that the US was behind the ouster of his government, Zhao said “China firmly opposes any other countries interference” by external forces.
He declined to elaborate stating it is for Islamabad and Washington to comment on it.
As China kept a close watch on the fast-evolving political developments in Pakistan, official media commentaries were broadly positive for Shehbaz Sharif becoming the new Prime Minister as his brother Nawaz Sharif maintained close ties with the ruling Communist Party of China, (CPC) as well as backing the Beijing’s USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
"The potential successor of Khan is from the Sharif family which has been promoting China-Pakistan ties for a long time, and cooperation between the two countries could be even better than under Khan," a write-up in state-run Global Times said, adding that close ties between the two countries were better under the traditional political parties.
"Khan is from a newly rising political part, and when traditional major political parties like the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) or the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) return to power, China-Pakistan cooperation could be even better because these traditional major parties have much closer and deeper ties with China, Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University.
On US allegation of US interference in Pakistan, Qian said: “The Pakistani people have long seen US pragmatism: Americans cosy up to Pakistan when they think it is useful and cold-shoulder Pakistan when they don't need it. It is futile for the US to try to steer Pakistan, as it is not welcome by any part of Pakistani society.”