Giant on the move
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
When President Barack Obama suggested in Beijing last month that China and the United States could cooperate on bringing stability to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and indeed to "all of South Asia", much of the attention was diverted to India, where the media saw it as inviting unwarranted Chinese interference in the region.
But what about asking a different question? Can China help stabilise the region?
As I wrote in this analysis, China -- Islamabad's most loyal partner -- is an obvious country for the United States to turn to for help in working out how to deal with Pakistan.
It already has substantial economic stakes in the region, including in the Aynak copper mine in Afghanistan and Gwadar port in Pakistan. Its economy would be the first to gain from any peace settlement which opened up trade routes and improved its access to oil, gas and mineral resources in Central Asia and beyond. It also shares some of Washington's concerns about Islamist militancy, particularly if this were to spread unrest in its Muslim Xinjiang region.