By Bharat Lather
07 Sep , 2016
The relation between China and Pakistan goes back to Chinese civil war, where communist forces took over main land China, while the existing government fled to Taiwan. Pakistan was the first Muslim country to recognize the new Chinese government and to break ties with the one in Taiwan.
China’s only overland link to Pakistan began in 1967 and got completed in 1979. Since that time, China and Pakistan have forged an important relationship.
The Sino-India War of 1962 served as a catalyst for Sino-Pak nexus in South Asia. By the end of 1962, both China and Pakistan had fought wars against India; the first being Indo-Pak Kashmir War of 1947-48 and the other being Sino-India War of 1962. Ultimately, to contain India, a strategic relationship was established between China and Pakistan. Their relationship can also be referred to Maoist-era strategy of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.
Since, 1962, China continues to be in occupation of around 38000 square kilometers of Indian Territory in the Aksai Chin region of Jammu and Kashmir; another 5180 square kilometers ceded by Pakistan to China in 1963 border agreement. Having built the roads in Tibet by 1960s, China decided to link Pakistan and Xinjiang by a land route passing through Khunjerab pass which later came to be known as Karakoram Highway (KKH), China’s only overland link to Pakistan began in 1967 and got completed in 1979. Since that time, China and Pakistan have forged an important relationship. On one side, Pakistan provides an important link for China to the United States as well as to the Muslim countries in the area.
In fact, Pakistan was instrumental in facilitating President’s Richard Nixon first visit to China in 1972. This visit shifted the balance of the Cold War, an aligned communist China with the U.S. against the Soviet Union. In international relations, the two countries support each other unilaterally. China backs Pakistan’s claim in the Kashmir region against India; while Pakistan advocates for China’s authority over Tibet and Taiwan.