Pakistan: Now or Never?
Perspectives on Pakistan
If your country is desperate to stave off economic collapse, there is probably no better place to visit, and no better friend to have, than China right now. With $2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, China is sheltered from the worst of the financial storm, so much so that many are looking at it to play a part in hauling the global economy into calmer waters.
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari begins a trip to China on Tuesday on what is being billed as his first official visit abroad – his earlier trip to the United States has been presented as one to attend the U.N. General Assembly.
Pakistan has long seen China as its most reliable friend, in contrast to the United States, whose support has waxed and waned in line with U.S. strategic interests in the region. And China in turn has long been content to provide quiet support, avoiding the brashness of the United States while building a relationship with an ally that could be used as a counterweight to India. So there is nothing unusual about a Pakistani leader making China his first choice for a bilateral trip. (more…)