Islamabad’s embarrassing rhetoric towards Beijing is a sign of strategic desperation The playing off of two stronger patrons by a smaller or weaker country is a time-honored tactic in international politics. 

So it is no surprise that Pakistan seeks to create geopolitical leverage by nuzzling up to China whenever a downdraft occurs in its relations with the United States.  But Islamabad’s current approach to Beijing is striking on two counts. The first is the profusion of fulsome, even embarrassing, metaphors that Pakistan issues in an attempt to inveigle China.

The second is how ineffective the sweet talking has been in enticing Beijing to attach itself ever closer to the Islamic Republic, or in spurring Washington into fits of jealousy. Power politics and well-placed flattery have always been central features of Islamabad’s diplomacy.  Thus Ayub Khan, the military ruler in the 1950s, secured vital U.S. security assistance to the fledging Pakistani state by boasting about how it played the role of Washington’s “most allied ally” in Asia. But consider how over the top Islamabad’s rhetoric vis-à-vis China has become in recent years.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has the bizarre habit of waxing lyrically about ties with Beijing.  In his usual formulation, the relationship is one that is “higher than mountains, deeper than oceans, stronger than steel and sweeter than honey.”  He repeated this curious phrase last week when he made a brief visit to the Chinese port city of Tianjin and then once more in a subsequent meeting with Executive Vice Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of the Bo’ao Forum for Asia, an annual conclave on the island of Hainan that some dub “Asia’s Davos.”  For good measure at the latter event, he added a profession of strategic allegiance: “China’s friend is our friend, and China’s enemy is ours” and Pakistan “considers China’s security as our own security.”


Pakistan Looking for Love but Bereft of Suitors

About the author

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Get notified of our weekly selection of news

You May Also Like

Reaching net zero: how to transform manufacturing and value chains

As carbon emission deadlines loom, manufacturers across the world are struggling to accelerate their company’s sustainability journey.

China overtakes Japan as world’s top auto exporter

New energy vehicles accounted for roughly 40% of China’s overall auto exports. Tesla’s China arm was the top exporter of new energy vehicles at 90,000 units, followed by SAIC Motor’s passenger vehicle unit at 50,000 units, and BYD at 30,000 vehicles.

Chinese New Year 2023 bookings : Thailand ranked first in overseas travel

In addition, the 2023 Lunar New Year holiday product booking volume of long-distance travel products increased by 72 percent