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Threats From America Will Move A Wary Pakistan Even Closer To China – Forbes

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) shakes hands with Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif (L) during a press conference at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Sept. 8, 2017. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump may have expected sheepish compliance from Pakistan when he said his country would “no longer be silent” about “safe havens” for terrorist organizations. Pakistan is sheltering terrorists that the United States is fighting, Trump said in a speech last month, “and that will change immediately.” Or will it?

Pakistan allies so tightly with China that it hardly need worry about getting scolded by Trump. The U.S. president’s comment may even serve to pull Pakistan and China closer together. “The Trump administration’s growing pressure on Pakistan to shut down jihadi terrorist networks operating from its soil will have the effect of forcing Pakistan into an ever-tighter embrace of China,” says Mohan Malik, Asian security professor with the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies.

After China’s border war with India in 1963, China and Pakistan established their own border by ceding land to each other. The friendship has only grown in the face of geopolitical changes since then, particularly each side’s ongoing issues with India.

Back to the U.S. threat, which was vague. Was Trump threatening to withdraw some kind of aid if Pakistan harbors anti-U.S. terrorist groups or the Taliban, an Islamic movement fighting a war for control in neighboring Afghanistan? He mentioned that the United States had paid Pakistan “billions and billions of dollars.” The South Asian country offers sanctuary to the Taliban, terrorism source al-Qaeda and local militant groups, the American think tank Council on Foreign Relations says here.

More on Forbes: Is There Any Way To Help Pakistan Govern Better?

Pakistan may see no cause for emergency. Trump’s original statement is now being “played down” by both sides, says Sulaiman Wasty, a Pakistan scholar with Sharakpur Financial Integrity Services in Washington.

The U.S. government has given Pakistan about $80 billion in economic and military help since the 1950s, more than China has offered, but Pakistani officials see relations with the United States as “one-sided based on short-term needs and expediency, driven primarily by American security concerns at any given time,” Malik says.

Threats From America Will Move A Wary Pakistan Even Closer To China – Forbes

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