China, Pakistan to Finalize Nuclear Deal
Luis Ramirez Beijing 03 Nov 2003, 14:53 UTC
China and Pakistan are expected to finalize a deal on the construction of a nuclear power plant in Pakistan's central Punjab province. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has traveled to Beijing to finalize the deal. China is assisting Pakistan in constructing the plant, despite objections from the United States, which opposes Chinese nuclear cooperation with Pakistan.
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, left, with Chinese President Hu Jintao
The deal, in which China will provide both technical and financial help to Pakistan, is the latest example of a growing relationship between the two countries. China is the leading provider of military hardware to Pakistan, and relations appeared to reach a new high last month when the Chinese and Pakistani navies completed their first joint exercises. At the same time, China has maintained good relations with Pakistan's nuclear rival, India. Professor He Baogang, a researcher at the National University of Singapore's East Asia Institute, says China's drive to sustain good relations with both India and Pakistan is a sign of Beijing's new approach. "In the past, we often held the view of a friend or foe relationship," he said. "If China had very good relations with India, that meant that China had very bad relationship with Pakistan. ... But this time, such views do not hold in this case now. China is now more look like to develop multiple good relations with everyone." Professor He says he sees this as an indication of China's drive to place itself as a leader in the South Asia region. "China developed a very kind of skillful diplomacy, what they call the great power mentality," he explained. "China wants to expand its power, to improve relationship with India Pakistan at the same time. It is exactly the Chinese effort to increase its influence in South Asia." The United States has repeatedly urged China to stop its nuclear cooperation with Pakistan. China and Pakistan have responded by saying they are not working together for military purposes. President Musharraf arrived in Beijing after attending the Boao Forum, a meeting for Asian business and political leaders in China's southern Hainan island. His next stop on Tuesday is South Korea, where he is to discuss trade.