Pakistan warmed up to its great neighbour, China, very early despite the hostility of the West to the Mao Tse Tung' coup. It established diplomatic relations with her on May 211951. The Bandung Conference of April 1955 held under the aegis of the Nonaligned Movement in Indonesia saw a further affixing of the said ties. Since the US/West used to treat China as an outcast in those days, she was not given her rightful recognition at the international level. As cold war era started between the Soviet Union and the USA divided Europe, nation states tended to, generally, tilt towards the western powers. The Soviets also built up an 'Empire' which was denoted by 'Iron curtain' in the political lingo to denigrate the authoritarian rule linked to the Marxist ideology which such states claimed to have adopted. No wonder China initially developed good relations with her comrades in Russia etc a la Communist agenda. Pakistan living under a threat from India after the occupation of Kashmir by the latter found some solace in joining US as an ally. Besides such a tie-up, it also became a member of the US-backed The Baghdad Pact in 1955 which was reborn as CENTO in 1959 as Iraq withdrew. Such arrangements provided some latest defense equipment/ training etc to her forces. As South East Asia became a battleground between emerging nationalist movements and the dominant powers symbolized by the French surrender at Dienbienphu and the Korean War, US anxiety was reflected by the famous "Domino theory." Countries like India, Indonesia, Egypt etc formed a Non Aligned Movement which had an agenda of its own. India, being a big country maintained close relations with the Soviet Union through professions of socialism despite her claims of being a non-aligned nation. This caused the US to keep cajoling India by various friendly gestures. US provided highly sophisticated arms to India during/after the Sino-Indian border war of 1962 which raised concerns in Pakistan. Mr. Bhutto, the founder President of the PPP, as Foreign Minister of Pakistan in Ayub Govt upgraded the relations between China and Pakistan. He persuaded President Ayub to open up with China even while Pakistan had close relations with the US. Such an adjustment was prompted by the changing objective realities due to the vicissitudes of cold war which appeared to be going well for China in Asia. The US inclination towards India, which appeared to ignore Pakistani sensitivity, also strengthened the support for change of our foreign policy. Subsequently Bhutto visited Beijing which led to the signing of trade and military agreements with the Chinese Govt whereby the latter offered help to Pakistan in a number of military and industrial projects. He also signed the Sino-Pakistan Boundary Agreement on March 2, 1963 that transferred 750 square kms of territory from Pakistan-administered Kashmir to Chinese control. Later on in 1970 Pakistan arranged the historic visit of Henry Kissinger to Beijing which opened the way for the formal recognition of China by the US and subsequent establishment of diplomatic relations between them. It also led to the epoch-making visit of President Nixon to China to meet the top brass of the Communist Party. In the aftermath of the 1971 secession of the Eastern wing abetted by Indian army, the PPP Govt kept relations with the Muslim countries and China as a priority. Mr. Bhutto had realized that Pakistan' existence could be guaranteed only by acquisition of nuclear capability and also by building better relations with the Middle East etc. On both these counts, he was viewed with unease by the US. The threat delivered by Henry Kissinger to him to induce him to change course otherwise the US would make "a horrible example" of him is now fulfilled and history. Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and others continued the policy of maintaining close ties with China. President Hu Jintao, as per China Daily of October 26, 2008, emphasized that "Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto made prominent contributions to the initiation and development of the China-Pakistan relationship, which the Chinese people will never forget". Since the installation of the PPP coalition in Pakistan in 2008, the relations have experienced further Closeness based upon the unwavering commitment of the parties to the cause. Accordingly, as per Xinhua, President Hu Jintao congratulated Pakistan's president-elect Asif Ali Zardari and pledged to maintain an "all weather friendship" with Islamabad. "The friendship is in the real interests of the two peoples and makes active contributions to peace, stability and development of the region and the world as a whole," he added. President Asif Ali Zardari, who is also the Co-Chairperson of PPP has repeatedly confirmed that Pakistan would build a really robust relationship with China. He recently led a delegation to China in pursuit of substantive breakthroughs in various fields of cooperation between the two countries. The all-out stress was put on trade expansion, joint-ventures which can boost Chinese investment in Pakistan etc. Currently the annual trade between the two countries is over $ 7 billion. A Free Trade Agreement reached last year visualizes the trade to soar to $ 15 billion by 2011. The CPC, Communist Party of China, had invited Chairman PPP, Mr. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, to the opening ceremony of the 29th Olympiad in August 2008 held in Beijing. During his stay in China, the PPP Chairman held a meeting with Mr Wang Jiarui, Minister of International Department of Communist Party of China (CPC) wherein the PPP leader vowed that he would work to further weld Pakistan-China relations so as to develop a model understanding. Recounting the great contributions made by the founder-President, ZAB and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto to the masterly mission, he committed, "Not only at the Government to Government level, but I would also work to strengthen our relations at party to party level," Paying glowing tributes to China, he emphasized that he was very impressed with its progress and development. In fact he appreciated as a student the model China had successfully adopted and implemented which could be an inspiration for those battling with the problems of poverty/ resource crunch. The PPP chairman extended an invitation to minister Wang to visit Pakistan. A six-member CPC delegation led by Deputy Minister for international Relations, Liu Hongcai is now visiting Pakistan. Yesterday it held parleys with various PPP leaders in Islamabad. The two sides reviewed the healthy progress of mutual relations and pledged to mobilize the prevailing goodwill to new heights. Minister Liu was quoted as saying, "whatever...the global situation, China will remain a sincere friend of Pakistan....I am here to send a strong message that the people of China and Pakistan will always remain good friends." This good news for us but we have to put our own house in order to be able to use such rain checks from friends all over the world. The writer is a former Secretary Interior E-mail: