Pakistan is flexing its muscles in front of China now, notwithstanding the fact that it has none. Having abandoned Saudi and the remaining Arab world to ally with an Erdogan-led Turkey, Pakistan is now signalling to China that they are willing to establish extensive trade ties with Taiwan if the CCP regime does not follow through with its plans of CPEC across Pakistan. On the Kashmir issue too, Pakistan is willing to settle for nothing less than unequivocal support of the Chinese for their propagandist narrative. Having been arm-twisted by Pakistan too now, Xi Jinping has cancelled his state visit to the terror state. Pakistan would be the last country, according to Xi Jinping, to have turned its back on him, but here we are now.
For the lack of a better word, the Chinese are calling it a ‘postponement’ due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which is a gift of the Chinese to the world. The Chinese ambassador to Paksitan has also said that new dates for the visit are being worked out between the two countries, however, now that Pakistan has hilariously, to its own detriment, started playing the Taiwan card, Xi Jinping has taken visible offence.
How has Pakistan played the Taiwan card; you would ask? In complete contestation of the much touted ‘One China Policy’, Sidrah Haque, trade officer at the Pakistani embassy in Cairo, posted a picture of her visit to the local Taiwan Trade Center and its director Michael Yen. She said their meeting was focused on developing Pakistan-Taiwan trade ties and sharing information about the local business market, raising eyebrows among strategic quarters about the possibility of Pakistan developing secret trade ties with Taiwan.
In her tweet, Sidrah Haque said, “Met Mr. Michael Yeh, a veteran commercial officer from Taiwan Trade Center. We spoke of Pakistan-Taiwan trade ties, our shared commercial experience in Cairo and major products of interest in the local market. Always feels good to connect with other trade wings and compare notes!” The tweet was deleted soon after, following the delivery of the strategic message to Beijing – lock, stock and barrel.
Following such heart-breaking manoeuvres by Pakistan, Xi Jinping’s slated visit to Pakistan was ‘postponed’ rather unceremoniously. Meanwhile, Taiwan News has reported that according to Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) data, Pakistan’s imports from Taiwan totalled US $626 million in 2019. In the same year, its exports to Taiwan were worth US $100 million.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is Xi Jinping’s flagship inter-continental Chinese colonialism project has hit some severe roadblocks across Southeast and South Asia, and also Africa, with the latter countries categorically conveying to the Chinese that they have been left incapacitated by the Chinese virus to any longer indulge Jinping’s plans of BRI. They have also made their inability to repay Chinese loans in a timely manner known to the CCP regime. Meanwhile, China’s leading policy banks like Exim bank have stopped lending for the BRI projects. Difficulties and delays plaguing the overseas BRI infrastructure projects in other parts have forced the gigantic Chinese infrastructure companies to look inwards.
As a direct consequence, CPEC, which is also a sub-project under BRI, has taken the toll. To add to Pakistan and China’s woes, Baloch fighters are repeatedly pounding CPEC project sites and workers, as they fight to save their to-be free land from forced Pakistan-facilitated Chinese occupation. Towards the north, CPEC passes through Gilgit Baltistan, which is sovereign Indian territory currently under the illegal occupation of Pakistan. As such, the Chinese are well aware that India might launch a military offensive to regain control of such territory at any moment, thereby sending the entire CPEC down Pakistani drains.
China has therefore grown apprehensive about the feasibility of CPEC, and with BRI no longer Xi Jinping’s top focus, Pakistan is, on expected lines, going through some grand withdrawal symptoms. The difference is that the Chinese are wanting to withdraw this time around. Therefore, in order to keep China tied with itself till eternity, Pakistan has decided to play out the Taiwan card and signalled to Beijing that just like it abandoned Saudi Arabia for a rabid Turkey, it will not shy away from abandoning China for Taiwan.