No Western power could damage Pak's ties with China: Imran Khantext_fields
Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the country could not be conceded to the pressure the US and other Western powers exert on it for its closeness to China. Pakistan has a history of a long-standing relationship with China that spans over 70 years which is not only very special but also time-tested, he said.
He made this statement while giving an interview to China's English-language state-broadcaster China Global Television Network (CGTN). An excerpt of the interview was shared on his Instagram account.
Talking about the evolving regional rivalry between the US and China, Khan said that "Pakistan thinks it is very unfair for the US or other powers - western power" to pressurise "countries like us to take sides" in a conflict with China.
"Why should we take sides? We should have good relations with everyone. It is not going to happen if pressure is put on Pakistan to change its relationship or downgrade its relationship with China, it wouldn't happen," Khan said.
Emphasising the deep relationship with China, Khan said that Pakistan would never bend under any kind of pressure. "Whatever will happen, our relationship between the two countries - no matter what pressure is put on us - is not going to change," he said.
He said that there was a "strange, great rivalry" taking place in the region which was public knowledge.
"You see the United States is wary of China. The way the United States and China are looking at each other creates problems because what the United States is doing is that it's formed this regional alliance called the Quad, which is US, India and a couple of other countries," Khan said.
The Quad or Quadrilateral alliance consisting of the US, India, Japan and Australia has been resolving to uphold a rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific amid growing Chinese assertiveness in the region.
Responding to a question about how to further deepen Sino-Pakistan ties, Khan said that the two sides enjoyed strong political ties but the relationship was not only limited to official relations but it was also a "people to people relationship".
He said trade was important to increase ties in future and termed the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as the "biggest thing happening in Pakistan".
The CPEC, which connects Gwadar Port in Pakistan's Balochistan with China's Xinjiang province, is the flagship project of China's ambitious multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Highlighting the 70 years of diplomatic ties, Khan said China always stood with Pakistan, which "always had a very special relationship with China".
He said that China "always stood with us" whenever Pakistan was in trouble politically or internationally or in a conflict with its neighbour, in an apparent reference to India.