In an interview with the CCP TV, Pakistani PM Imran Khan confirms that the two countries have become “iron brothers.”
by Massimo Introvigne
“Whatever happens in any international forum, Pakistan and China stand together.” These are the literal words of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, in an interview granted on June 29 via Zoom to China Global Television Network (CGTN), China’s government broadcaster. Imran Khan also posted the interview on his Instagram account.
The Prime Minister stated that China always defended Pakistan when it was attacked and criticized, and denounced pressures from the United States and Europe to change the country’s systemic alliance with Beijing. “Whatever will happen, our relationship between the two countries—no matter what pressure is put on us—is not going to change,” he said. He also assured the Chinese television that the population of Pakistan agrees with him and supports China.
Imran Khan’s interview is part of an ongoing process of cooperation and reciprocal support between the two countries, known as the China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue. Its last public round was held in the Chinese province of Hainan last year.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at that time described the two countries as “iron brothers.” Pakistan guaranteed to China its support on issues of special concern to Beijing, “such as those related to Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong.” It also promised to support Beijing’s efforts against international accusations about COVID-19. In turn, China promised to defend Pakistan against foreign “interferences,” meaning criticism based on its human rights record.
The alliance between China and Pakistan is of great geopolitical significance. It is also part of a broader strategy where China allies itself with all countries accused of human rights violations throughout the world, giving and receiving support at the United Nations and other international fora.