Islamabad - Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa reached Beijing on Sunday on 3-day official visit to China in a bid to reassure Chinese top leadership on the security and continuation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as Pakistan believes its economic future is linked with this mega project.

ISPR Director General Maj-Gen Asif Ghafoor in a tweet said, the army chief during his stay in China will interact with various Chinese leaders including his counterpart.

The visit of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) has gained significance in the wake of recent international media reports suggesting that Pakistan was seeking to renegotiate the entire CPEC project with China.

These reports have caused ripples not only in Pakistan but also in China, prompting the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan to immediately take up these reports with the Pakistani leadership.

Ambassador Yao Jing also called on Army Chief last week. The two leaders discussed matters of mutual interest and regional security, said an ISPR statement issued after the meeting.

The ambassador appreciated Pakistan’s support for CPEC. General Bajwa reiterated that the project was the economic future of Pakistan and its security shall never be compromised.

Analysts commenting on significance of General Bajwa’s visit to China believed that apart from allying concerns of the Chinese leadership over the CPEC following the recent media reports, he would discuss regional security with the Chinese.

They believed the negative reports about CPEC in the western media, which came at a time when a new government in Pakistan has just taken the charge, were a work of Indo-US lobbies and aimed at creating a wedge between China and Pakistan – the two all weather friends.

Some of the analysts were of the view that this was largely because of the US opposition to the CPEC as part of its containment policy as well as its year-long efforts to appease India.

“There is a greater likelihood that General Bajwa would take on board the Chinese leadership about the overall security situation in the region – especially in the backdrop of recent developments in Afghanistan as well as the growing Indo-US defence cooperation,” a leading security expert remarked.

Under the Indo-US nexus, President Donald Trump’s administration has been trying to treat Pakistan with new arms twisting strategy over the so-called war against terror to cover up its failure in Afghanistan which Pakistan believed was contrary to the facts and ground realities.

Pakistan has suffered huge losses in terms of men and material in rooting out menace of terrorism on its soil and suspecting its intentions on this front is nothing less than rubbing salt on its wounds.

Last year in October, US Defence Secretary James Mattis while testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee towed the Indian line by saying that CPEC passes through a disputed territory. India has long claimed that Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan is part of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir state.

“The [CPEC part of] One Belt, One Road also goes through [a] disputed territory, and I think that in itself it shows the vulnerability of trying to establish that sort of a dictate,” said Mattis appearing before the committee along with Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Joseph Dunford earlier this week to give a briefing on the situation in the Pak-Afghan region.

The defence secretary said the Trump administration opposed the OBOR [One Belt, One Road] policy in principle because in a globalised world, there were many belts and many roads, and no one nation should put itself into a position of dictating OBOR. And it opposed the one going through Pakistan also because it passed through a disputed territory [of GB].

Pakistan and China had strongly dismissed Mattis claim that the multibillion-dollar road and rail network, called CPEC, which is part of China’s OBOR initiative, passes through a disputed territory. Bothe Pakistan and China claim it to be very much part of Pakistani territory.

 

 

COAS reaches China on

3-day visit