Pakistan doesn’t want to pick sides in growing US-China rivalry: Minister Khar

Islamabad: Pakistan has enough problems of its own and does not want the added headache of a new Cold War between China and the United States, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar has said.

Khar insisted that an all-out rupture between the US and China would present Pakistan, an all-weather ally of Beijing, with an unpalatably binary strategic choice.

“We have a history of being in a close, collaborative mode with the US. We have no intention of leaving that. Pakistan also has the reality of being in a close, collaborative mode with China, and until China suddenly came to everyone’s threat perception, that was always the case,” Dawn newspaper quoted Khar as saying in an interview with Washington-based news outlet Politico this week.

Front-line states closely watch Pakistan in the contest for strategic influence in Asia.

Over the years, as Washington’s cooperation with India has increased, Pakistan has gotten closer to China , especially after the latter’s investment in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

However, Washington is still a significant military partner for Pakistan, while Beijing has recently pledged to deepen economic investment and military cooperation with the country, The News reported.

In April this year, Khar had made headlines when the Washington Post leaked records termed ‘Discord Leaks’ of a discussion between her and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif surfaced.

As per the leaked documents, Khar said that Pakistan should avoid appeasing the West and that its desire to maintain a strategic partnership with the US would sacrifice the full benefits of its original strategic partnership with the long-term friendly nation China, The News reported.