Seventy-Three Years: A Timeless Bond of Pakistan-China Diplomatic Relations

May 19, 2024
Updated 2024/05/19 at 12:01 PM
11 Min Read
Pakistan and China share a bond that goes beyond mere diplomacy. It’s a partnership rooted in mutual interests and shared aspirations for regional stability and economic prosperity.
—Syed Ali Nawaz Gilani
In the limelight of international relations, there exists a thread woven with the deepest hues of solidarity and trust. Pakistan and China, bound by an unbreakable bond, stand as testament to the enduring power of friendship amidst the tumult of global politics. From the towering peaks of the Himalayas to the bustling streets of Islamabad and Beijing, their diplomatic embrace echoes with the whispers of shared history and common aspirations.
Pakistan and China’s diplomatic journey, which commenced on the 21st of May 1951, has transcended time, evolving into a formidable alliance with each passing day and year. This cherished relationship, rooted in mutual recognition and respect, has blossomed into an All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership, epitomizing the unwavering commitment of both nations’ leadership to propel it forward. Pakistan, among the first nations to embrace the People’s Republic of China, holds China dear as its Iron Brother, while China, in turn, cherishes Pakistan as one of its closest friends and partners. This deep-seated camaraderie is underpinned by feelings of mutual trust, respect, and goodwill, fostering a regular exchange of high-level visits and strategic consultations between the two neighbors.
Economically, China’s stature as Pakistan’s largest trading partner and a major investor, particularly in infrastructure and energy sectors, amplifies the bilateral synergy. The official launch of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project under President Xi Jinping’s “One Road, One Belt” initiative, marks a significant milestone, elevating the bilateral relationship to unprecedented heights. CPEC, envisioned to enhance connectivity and infrastructure, has catalyzed monumental developments, fostering socio-economic prosperity and job creation across Pakistan. This transformative journey, facilitated by a robust mechanism of Joint Cooperation Committees and Working Groups, underscores the depth of commitment towards mutual progress and shared prosperity. As Pakistan and China continue to script a narrative of unparalleled friendship and cooperation, their enduring partnership serves as a beacon of hope, inspiring a more harmonious global community.
Pakistan’s diplomatic ties with China have stood the test of time, evolving into a robust alliance with multifaceted dimensions. Pakistan was one of the first countries to recognize the People’s Republic of China, their relationship has grown from strength to strength. Throughout the years, their partnership has become a cornerstone of regional stability and economic growth.
In the early years, the two nations established their camaraderie on the foundation of countering common threats and challenges. As the geopolitical landscape evolved, their alliance served as a strategic counterbalance to the influence of neighboring India. Moreover, China’s substantial investments in Pakistan’s infrastructure, including the transformative CPEC, have not only fueled Pakistan’s economic growth but have also deepened the bond between the two nations.
Over time, their collaboration expanded beyond economic ventures to encompass defense and security cooperation. With a shared commitment to combating terrorism and ensuring regional security, China and Pakistan have engaged in intelligence sharing and military exchanges. Pakistan’s pivotal role in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) further solidifies their partnership, with CPEC emerging as a flagship project under this ambitious endeavor.
Their friendship extends beyond bilateral interests, manifesting in unwavering diplomatic support in international forums. Through thick and thin, China and Pakistan have stood by each other, forging a bond based on trust, respect, and mutual benefit. As they continue to navigate the complexities of global politics, the China-Pakistan relationship remains a beacon of stability and cooperation in an ever-changing world.
– 1949: The People’s Republic of China was established.
– 1950: Pakistan becomes one of the first countries to recognize the People’s Republic of China.
– 1951: Diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China are formally established.
– 1962: The Sino-Indian War strengthens Pakistan’s ties with China as Pakistan supported China during the conflict.
– 1963: The Sino-Pakistani Agreement is signed, transferring territory from Pakistan-administered Kashmir to China.
– 1971: During the Bangladesh Liberation War, China supports Pakistan, leading to further strengthening of bilateral relations.
– 1978: China’s reform and opening-up policies begin, leading to increased economic cooperation between China and Pakistan.
– 2013: China announces the CPEC project, enhancing economic collaboration between the two countries.
– 2024: China and Pakistan celebrate the 73rd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, highlighting the strong and enduring friendship between the two nations.
These milestones highlight the close and strategic partnership that has developed between Pakistan and China over the years. Further developments in Pakistan-China relations include ongoing military cooperation, cultural exchanges, and economic collaborations.
The CPEC has emerged as a flagship project, aiming to enhance connectivity and promote economic development in Pakistan. Both countries continue to support each other on various international platforms, maintaining a strong strategic partnership. People-to-people exchanges, educational cooperation, and mutual support on regional and global issues further cement the bond between Pakistan and China. The bilateral relationship between the two countries remains vital for regional stability and economic development in the broader context of South Asia and beyond.
Worth mentioning that Pakistan and China’s diplomatic relations have evolved into a multifaceted partnership with several key aspects driving their enduring bond. Firstly, their strategic partnership stands as a pillar of regional stability, with both nations collaborating closely on security, defense, and counterterrorism efforts. Secondly, economic cooperation forms a cornerstone of their relationship, with China emerging as a major investor in Pakistan’s infrastructure projects, notably through the CPEC. Additionally, military cooperation between the two countries is robust, encompassing joint exercises, technology transfer, and defense collaboration. Diplomatically, China consistently extends support to Pakistan on various international platforms, while Pakistan aligns itself with China on matters of mutual interest. Finally, people-to-people ties foster cultural exchanges, educational collaborations, and tourism, strengthening the bond between the peoples of both nations beyond official channels. As Pakistan and China celebrate the 73rd anniversary of their diplomatic relations, these five aspects underscore the depth and resilience of their friendship, which continues to shape the geopolitical landscape of the region. This relationship goes beyond mere strategic cooperation; it embodies a deep-rooted friendship that has weathered the tests of time and emerged stronger. Their partnership is characterized by a shared commitment to fostering peace, stability, and prosperity in the region. The bond also extends beyond bilateral interests, manifesting in a robust diplomatic support system in various international forums. Whether it’s advocating for each other’s positions on critical issues or standing shoulder to shoulder in times of global challenges, the two countries exemplify the true essence of solidarity and collaboration. At its core, the friendship between Pakistan and China is built on a foundation of trust, respect, and mutual benefit. This symbiotic relationship allows both nations to leverage their respective strengths and resources for collective advancement. From infrastructure development projects like BRI & CPEC to joint military exercises, their collaboration spans across diverse sectors of mutual interest. In an ever-evolving geopolitical landscape, the enduring friendship between China and Pakistan serves as a beacon of stability and cooperation. As both countries navigate complex global challenges and opportunities, their shared commitment to each other highlights the importance of fostering genuine relationships in the realm of international politics. By continuing to stand by each other through thick and thin, China and Pakistan set a commendable example for the world on how genuine friendship can transcend borders and contribute to a more harmonious global community.
As we reflect on the remarkable journey of Pakistan-China diplomatic relations, spanning over seven decades, it becomes evident that the bond between these two nations is not merely defined by geography or shared interests, but by the enduring spirit of friendship and cooperation. With a border stretching over 5000 kilometers, their relationship stands taller than the mighty Himalayas, symbolizing the strength and resilience that characterize their partnership. Like the sweetness of honey, their relations are imbued with warmth and sincerity, transcending borders and cultural differences. As the old saying goes, “Iron brothers” indeed, their bond is unbreakable, and their commitment to each other unwavering. Through thick and thin, Pakistan and China have stood by each other, and their friendship will last forever, ever, a testament to the power of genuine camaraderie in shaping a brighter future for generations to come.
(The writer is a foreign affairs commentator and Secretary General of the Pakistan China Friendship Association’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter. He can be reached at

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