Most of us must have listened to the passionate song Pak-Cheen dosti wang woye, wang woye, wang woye, wang woye, Pak-Cheen dosti zindabad, zindabad, zindabad, zindaabaaad.’ However, the majority of Pakistanis are unaware regarding the historical foundations and genesis of Pak-China friendship. The recent consolidation of Pak-China relations and the subsequent wave of jubilation in the masses call for an examination of the history of the cooperation and diplomatic ties shared by the two neighboring states.
Having their roots in the decades of 1950s, Pakistan and China’s relations have been steady, multi-faceted and encompass an array of strategic, defense, diplomatic, commercial and political arenas. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were founded on 21st May 1951, soon after the Republic of China lost power to the Communist forces in the mainland, after a series of tightly contested battles, in 1949. The basis of this durable relationship lied in the natural strategic cooperation suited to both Chinese and Pakistani interests. As Pakistani establishment found an avenue towards East to counter the ever whimsical relations with the West, whereas China considered Pakistan to be of help in offsetting Indian influence in the region. Conversely, Pakistan also valued the potential Chinese support vis-à-vis its conflicts with India. Similarly, China also foresaw Pakistan’s potential owing to its unique geostrategic position and assumed it to be an important ally in the Muslim world.
Even though China recognized India first in 1950, however its border disputes on the McMahon Line with India embroiled it in a series of border clashes and finally culminated in a full-scale war in 1962. Naturally, Pakistan and China came closer due to these major developments and consolidated their relations further. Soon after the Indo-China War concluded, Pakistan entered a series of negotiations with China to resolve its border disputes with China in an amicable manner. The Trans-Karakoram Tract or the Shaksgam Tract Pact was concluded and signed by the foreign ministers of both the countries in 1963. Pakistan surrendered some of its territories to China and the Chinese conversely gave up their claim over Hunza and a number of other areas. Moreover, Pakistan also obtained 1,942 km sq. of territory which was under the actual control of the Chinese government. Thus, possible future disputes between the neighboring counties were avoided and a solid foundation of brotherly relations was laid out.
Furthermore, a major stimulus in these relations came during the 1965 war when the Americans shunned Pakistan and the Chinese came out openly in Pakistan’s support. The Chinese government under Mao Tse-tung, supported Pakistan overtly in a number of ways. It lent its support to Pakistan militarily, diplomatically, politically and financially. It not only reiterated its support regarding the Pakistani standpoint on the Kashmir issue but it also heavily condemned India’s “criminal aggression”, and threatened India of disastrous consequences if it were to maintain its belligerence against Pakistan. This particular development elicited a significantly positive response from the Pakistan government and masses alike. Finally, Pakistan had a reliable strategic partner on whom it could rely and depend upon. Betrayed by the Americans at this critical juncture, this unequivocal backing from China altered the trajectory of Pak-China relations and their friendship was carved in stone.
The symbiotic relationship soon developed into a durable, reliable, and an all-weather friendship, which the people hailing from both sides of the border cherish and take proud in. China has over the years supported Pakistan in building its military industry, nuclear program, missile technology, military jets, trainer jets and so forth. Pakistan on the other hand, has always been an amiable neighbor giving China the utmost support over its initial induction in the United Nations’ Security Council, to the Tibet issue and access to warm waters of the Arabian Sea etc. It is observed that China and Pakistan have both acted as mature strategic partners, by furthering each other’s interests in the region. Thus, it is rightfully sung that Pak-Cheen Dosti wang woye, which roughly translates to “long-live Pak-China Friendship or “Pak-Cheen Dosti zindabad” in the Chinese language.