ONE only hopes that the President meant business when he said that Pakistan wanted stronger relations with China. Talking to Chinese Vice Minister of Transport Xu Zuyuan, who had called on him at Islamabad on Monday, he lauded the cooperation Beijing had extended to the country over the years in projects of an extremely important nature. Later, Mr Xu and his delegation had a meeting with the Prime Minister where similar sentiments were expressed by Mr Gilani. A mere glance at the projects our Chinese friends have undertaken for us - the Heavy Mechanical Complex, the Karakorum Highway, the aeronautical and JF-7 Thunder projects, the Chashma Nuclear Power Plants and the recent Gwadar deep seaport, to quote some - would demonstrate that they have concentrated on infrastructural schemes of great significance to us so that we could, in course of time, stand on our own feet. And, in sharp contrast to the Western attitude, the Chinese help has invariably been shorn of strings. Yet for all the disappointments it has entailed, we have continued to focus on the West, to the tragic neglect of our national interests. Our full engagement in the war on terror notwithstanding, the US has refused to deliver on matters that could prove crucial to our progress and prosperity, with our leadership timidly bowing to meet its ever increasing demands and comforting itself with the nice words of promise it hears from Washington. The need of the hour is that we shift our focus away from the West and, indeed, towards the tried and tested friend. In China, we have a sincere friend and it is ready to come forward to help. Our coolness is giving the Chinese wrong signals. It is clear to the meanest intelligence that the US has chosen India as its outpost to promote its interests and it intends pandering to its demands, which, as things stand, include its dominance of the region. To help it achieve that ambitious goal, the US would turn a blind eye to its systematic efforts to ruin Pakistan. It is time to turn to China with all sincerity and commitment; the battle lines are clear.