Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that the US-China relations had grown increasingly tense over the Taiwan dispute and if both nations so desire, his country would be happy to play a positive role to bridge their differences, as Pakistan has done for about half a century ago. Prime Minister Shehbaz expressed these thoughts during a recent interview with Newsweek. According to Prime Minister, Pakistan has traditionally maintained good relations with China and the United States, and the country has once acted as a bridge in opening up the relationship between the two nations. He said that bloc politics and any drift towards a cold war will not produce any positive results, and would be counterproductive for growth and stability. He noted that Pakistan will continue to highlight the need for avoidance of a confrontational approach and would be ready to play a role in preventing the world from sliding into an ever deeper set of crises.
The US-China Strategic rivalry over Taiwan is growing every passing day while the recent visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has brought it to new heights. Before the smoke of the Chinese furious military drill in the Taiwan Strait diminishes in the air, a five-member US Congressional delegation started preparing to visit Taiwan to strengthen Washington- Tai Pei bonds in the 21st century. Meanwhile, British lawmakers also intended to undertake a diplomatic expedition to Tai Pei in the coming weeks. The geopolitical matrix in South Asia can not remain calm amid identifying the US-China tussle because the United States invested heavily in India and put its full weight behind New Delhi to counterbalance China, whereas America’s betrayed and India’s stung Pakistan has developed close bonds with Beijing. The intensifying US-China rivalry and American unrestricted opposition to China have created an odd situation for Pakistan.
Traditionally, Pakistan has maintained good relations with China and the United States and the country also intends to maintain a balance in its relations with both great powers in the coming years without indulging in their mutual disputes. In fact, Pakistan can’t afford to lay all its eggs in one basket whether it is China or the United States. Presently, Pakistan’s efforts to maintain relations with both countries had been complicated by the warring nations, as both nations are persuading Pakistan to choose between maintaining close economic and security cooperation with China and its political, trade, and economic ties with the United States and the west. Hence, Pakistani Strategists are trying to avert those pressures but worsening economic snags are creating serious challenges for Pakistan to deal with such coercive diplomatic maneuvers of great powers.
Pakistani leadership had always tried to play a bridging role to pacify growing hostility between the US and China and encouraged American investors to invest in Chinese-funded CPEC-related energy projects and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) so both nations have an equal share in Foreign investment in the country. Although Prime Minister Shehbaz has expressed a desire to replay the historic role of a bridge state when Pakistan facilitated the US-China rapprochement in the Nixon era, however, it is a mere delusion of Pakistani leaders, because currently America and China are in a bullfight and not ready to reconcile. Therefore, Pakistani policymakers must endeavor to steer the country through this crucial phase with tact and wisdom without being a victim to their coercion and enticement.