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China - Pakistan: Energy Relations - Atahan Tümer

Understanding China and Pakistan relations play a key role in understanding the balances in Asia. These two countries have deep-rooted relations. Bilateral relations between these two countries that started in 1951 still continue today with deep cooperation. There are strategic and economic cooperation agreements between the two countries. The relations that started in 1951 have reached the level of strategic partnership in a short period of 20 years. Since then, China and Pakistan are two countries that have close relations and often act jointly in the region. Although the reason for this partnership is the threat of India, we can say that this partnership has strengthened today. 70 years of close ties and 50 years of the alliance have enabled these two countries to unite with strong ties on many issues. Relations between the two countries have not been damaged even in major crises. For example, Pakistan is one of the rare countries that supported China against the sanctions imposed on China after the Tiananmen events. Economic relations have been established between China and Pakistan in many areas from the arms trade to energy trade. In order to make accurate analyses about the region, it is very important to take into account the relationship between these two countries.

The two countries also have plenty of agreements on energy. China's One Belt One Road project is very important for them to open up to developing countries in the world. In order to understand this importance, one can consider that neighboring countries also have great potential to expand China's sphere of influence. After understanding this one can better understand the importance of Pakistan for China. The economic investments made by China in Asian countries within the scope of the Silk Road Economic Belt projects show how serious they are in this regard. The long-standing strategic partnerships and historical ties have made Pakistan the focus of Chinese investments. China wants to use Pakistan to create an alternative to the Strait of Malacca. At this point, possible infrastructure investments to be made by Pakistan, especially the development of railway networks, is of critical importance for China to achieve this goal. The aim of China's Silk Road project to create an alternative to the roads they currently use and to open up to new markets explains Pakistan's importance in China's goals.

China takes a 25% share in Pakistan's imports. This is a remarkable margin. We should evaluate the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor together with this information. Also, we should not forget that this corridor is not separate from other projects that China wants to conduct. This corridor, which starts in Kashgar and ends at Gwadar Port, enables China to reach the sea. Gwadar Port was built with the Chinese capital itself and China will have the usage rights of this port for a long time. For China, which meets a significant part of its energy needs from the Strait of Malacca, it is very important to reach the Strait of Hormuz. This corridor means that China is approaching the Strait of Hormuz. At this point, we can summarize the main purpose of this corridor created by China in Pakistan as ensuring the security of its own energy supply and revealing another alternative energy supply route.

There are also partnerships in nuclear energy between China and Pakistan. China plays an important role in nuclear power generation in Pakistan. Pakistan's possession of both nuclear energy and nuclear weapons raises questions. The conflicts between the three nuclear-armed states (Pakistan-China-India) and problems such as the Kashmir problem threaten the peace and security of trade in the region. Undoubtedly, the energy sector is also

small amount of Pakistan's needs.

Pakistan is a country highly dependent on foreign energy. This foreign dependency grows every year. At this point, we can mention that there will be possible initiatives that Pakistan can take to meet its energy needs more easily. We should also say that China makes most of its investments in Pakistan by giving low-interest loans to the Pakistani government. The debt burden created by these loans will also pose a major problem for Pakistan in the short and medium-term. If we take into account the other investments of China in Central Asia and South Asia and the American presence in Afghanistan, we can understand the dynamics of the region much better. There is no doubt that China's influence in Asia is growing. It is not so likely that China's relationship with Pakistan will be breakdown easily due to the partnerships and common enemies.


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