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Thread: The China–Pakistan Axis Asia’s New Geopolitics

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  1. #1
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Will China's patience with Pakistan last?

    A Pakistani paper headline 'Uighur leader hiding in Pakistan vows revenge on China', and refers to:
    In a rare but brief interview, Abdullah Mansour, leader of the rebel Turkestan Islamic Party, said it was his holy duty to fight the Chinese
    Link:http://tribune.com.pk/story/682878/u...enge-on-china/

    Then the report cites a Pakistani NGO, which works in the NWF region:
    In the last couple of years, Taliban have got nearer and nearer to the Chinese border...There has been a lot of movement there. Perhaps that gives them the logistical support that they require to cross over into China.
    After recent events in China, how long can Pakistan not actively pursue such "militants"? Well since Pakistan appears to once again be following a 'stop, go' policy towards confronting the Pakistani Taliban (PTT) the Chinese will have to be very patient.

    There is a main thread, where this post may migrate, 'The US & others working with Pakistan' at:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=2313
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-14-2014 at 10:17 PM.
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    What are China's options here?


    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    A Pakistani paper headline 'Uighur leader hiding in Pakistan vows revenge on China', and refers to:

    Link:http://tribune.com.pk/story/682878/u...enge-on-china/

    Then the report cites a Pakistani NGO, which works in the NWF region:

    After recent events in China, how long can Pakistan not actively pursue such "militants"? Well since Pakistan appears to once again be following a 'stop, go' policy towards confronting the Pakistani Taliban (PTT) the Chinese will have to be very patient.

    There is a main thread, where this post may migrate, 'The US & others working with Pakistan' at:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=2313

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    This kind of stuff is why I'm perplexed every time someone refers to Iran as the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. Iran is in a very distant second place.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    What are China's options here?
    From my faraway armchair a few thoughts.

    I would dismiss China using military options, not because of a lack of capability but simply the lack of precise information where the "militants" are. Plus the complications of operating covertly in the area, excluding payment as a lever.

    Pakistan has traditionally relied on China as its only reliable ally when needed, although I am unaware if Chinese state support today includes gold and advanced weapons.

    The "loss of face" for Pakistan if China even withdrew its ambassador would be immense, especially as Islamabad would find it hard to explain internally. Slowing down non-state investments, often advertised, but rarely seen on the ground, such as the port of Gwador.
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Pressure ends in military action

    Thanks to a "lurker" for the pointer to this apparent ISI press briefing:
    Local intelligence officials said foreign militants along with their families have taken refuge there in recent years, including Chechens, Uzbeks, Chinese, Turkmen, Tajiks and Uighurs.

    One senior security official said the military was in particular targeting the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a separatist militant outfit blamed for numerous terror attacks in China’s restive western region of Xinjiang.


    He said the Chinese government had pressed Pakistan for taking action against the Uighur separatists based in North Waziristan. “The Chinese authorities had conveyed their message separately to the prime minister and the army chief; the issue had been raised even with the president when he was on an official visit to China,” he added.


    The military action comes after more than three months of stop-start peace talks between the government and the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, which have made little progress since they began in February.
    Link:http://www.dawn.com/news/1108295/fou...tion-continues
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    What are China's options here?
    China is concerned about making certain her strategic rise in the world and thus to safeguard the uninterrupted flow of strategic resources from the world to China. She is pragmatic to realise that the Straits of Malacca is a chokepoint that can be interdicted to the detriment of her strategic goals.

    Being far reaching in insight, China has been assiduous in building up her allies who could ensure a lifeline into China even if the Straits of Malacca is interdicted. To that end, China has Myanmar and Pakistan on her side for access to the Indian Ocean via Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea respectively and while she has built the transportation and oil link from Myanmar, she is on the way to do so through Pakistan from Geadar.

    Therefore, Pakistan is central to her strategic interest. It also gives China the inbuilt flexibility in case of disruption in Myanmar.

    Hence, China is in a Catch 22 situation vis--vis Pakistan as far as the Uighur terrorists are concerned.

    Without going into details, suffice it to say, that for more than half of its years of Independence, Pakistan has been ruled by its powerful military, It is no secret that even when there was/is a democratically elected Govt, it is the Army that calls the shots in Pakistan.

    In the recent past, thanks to Zia, the fundamentalist organisations and Mullahs have come into the power play.

    The powerful army because of their internal contradiction of wanting to control the fundamentalists that they themselves have created and yet wanting to use them as non state strategic assets, finds itself at sixes and sevens. It appears no matter which entity of governance or chaos, if you will, wants to bring some method in the madness, they just cant. They are caught in a bind.

    The unfortunate situation where the fundamentalists have Govt support is clear from this BBC report:
    Pakistan 'gave funds' to group on UN terror blacklist

    Pakistan's Punjab province government gave about $1m (Ł674,000) last year to institutions linked to a charity on a UN terror blacklist, it has emerged.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/10334914
    Therefore, who should China appeal to? The non functional democratic Govt, the powerful Army who are at the mercy of the fundamentalists, the fundamentalist, the Mullahs or who?

    The only option for China is to ''seal the border'', but sealing is only a placebo since the borders are always porous and the determined slip through to chaos mayhem and havoc.
    Last edited by Ray; 05-26-2014 at 07:54 AM.

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray View Post
    China is concerned about making certain her strategic rise in the world and thus to safeguard the uninterrupted flow of strategic resources from the world to China. She is pragmatic to realise that the Straits of Malacca is a chokepoint that can be interdicted to the detriment of her strategic goals.

    Being far reaching in insight, China has been assiduous in building up her allies who could ensure a lifeline into China even if the Straits of Malacca is interdicted. To that end, China has Myanmar and Pakistan on her side for access to the Indian Ocean via Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea respectively and while she has built the transportation and oil link from Myanmar, she is on the way to do so through Pakistan from Geadar.
    Speaking of trying to replace the Straits of Malacca with the proposed links through Myanmar and Gwadar is like speaking of replacing the aorta with a couple of capillaries. Look at the volume of material coming through the straits, not only resources flowing to China but the equally important flow of manufactured products coming from China, and compare that to the actual capacity of the Pakistan and Myanmar links and you get a sense of the disproportion. These efforts are potentially useful to China, but they are not game changers, especially as any power that could interdict the Straits of Malacca (realistically that means the US, or possibly India) could also interdict traffic in and out of Myanmar or Gwadar. China could potentially develop routes for energy inflow that would be much more difficult to target, but that involves pipeline routes direct from Russia, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan, efforts that are much larger and much more important than the Myanmar pipeline and the proposed Gwadar pipeline. They would not, of course, resolve the problem of moving Chinese exports in a potential conflict situation.

    I don't think it's accurate to say that Pakistan is central to Chinese strategic interests, not least because the Chinese understand that Pakistan is an unreliable partner and would not be stupid enough to build Pakistan into a central role in any strategic plan. Pakistan is a potentially useful asset in any possible conflict with the US or India, and also a potential liability as a fefuge and point of moral and physical resupply for destabilizing elements in China. That puts the Chinese in a situation where they have to seek a balance that will inevitably be imperfect, and it will be interesting to see how they proceed.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    The issue is something that is better than nothing.

    China is not putting all eggs in one basket and instead is organising options to keep the resources required by her reaching her.

    Pakistan is one of the options that surely assist the aim.

    Oil is not the only issue that China finds as solely essential.

    It is not merely oil pipelines that China has built in Myanmar and Pakistan. China is building multi access options - pipeline, railways and highways.
    Last edited by Ray; 06-08-2014 at 06:27 PM.

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray View Post
    China is not putting all eggs in one basket and instead is organising options to keep the resources required by her reaching her.
    Exactly, that is why Pakistan is not "central" to Chinese strategic interests. Not irrelevant, but not central either. I think the Chinese can see the inherent instability and unreliability of Pakistan clearly enough that they will not allow themselves to become strategically dependent on Pakistan in any way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray View Post
    Oil is not the only issue that China finds as solely essential.
    Very true. Some people focus exclusively on commodity imports as a strategic issue, while overlooking China's equally imperative need to maintain transit of its merchandise exports... which are entirely reliant on container shipping, and given geography are likely to remain so. Again, it's a question of scale, and some find it difficult to envision the number of trucks or railway cars it would take to move the cargo of a single container ship. The world's goods move by ship for good reasons.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The China–Pakistan Axis Asia’s New Geopolitics

    A WoTR podcast discusses this new book 'The China–Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics' by Andrew Small, with Stephen Tankel and Ryan Evans:http://warontherocks.com/2015/01/pod...ets-east-asia/

    There are already threads on the interaction between between Pakistan, China, India, and Afghanistan.

    Link to the publishers website, who do ship globally for free, if you register with them alongside a discount:http://www.hurstpublishers.com/book/...pakistan-axis/
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    Shashank Joshi has done a review of the book and here is a taster:
    Premier Zhou Enlai, meeting the delegation, was bewildered by their request for only 14 days' ammunition. 'How can a war be fought in that short time?' Zhou then asked: 'I would be interested to know if you have prepared the people of Pakistan to operate in the rear of the enemy...I am talking about a People's Militia being based in every village and town'. The Sandhurst-educated generals were taken aback. 'What does Zhou Enlai know about soldiering anyway?'This story appears early in Andrew Small's outstanding new book .... It is a reminder that the two countries are odd bedfellows, lacking the cultural affinity that might be implied by General Xiong Guangkai's quip that 'Pakistan is China's Israel'.
    China has repeatedly left Pakistan to stew in its own juices in moments of peril, from 1965 to more recent crises
    Link:http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/...ew-small.aspx?
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default I am not on commission

    A third review of The China–Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics' by Andrew Small, by Myra Macdonald (who is always worth reading):http://warontherocks.com/2015/02/not.../?singlepage=1

    A passage of note refers to Xinjiang, an issue that grown IMHO in recent years:
    Until relatively recently, moreover, it was able to rely on Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency to gain access to the Afghan Taliban and other Islamist militants to ensure Chinese interests were left alone and Uighur militants from its Xinjiang region kept in check. But as Pakistan began to lose its grip on Islamist militants, China also lost some of its confidence in Pakistan. At home, China has faced increased attacks from Uighur militants; while in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, Chinese workers have been killed. Hence its worries about the Pakistan Army: it is one thing to support a national military against India and quite another to supply one being eaten away from within by a virulent strain of violent Islamism.

    (China)...it also has common cause with Washington in its desire for regional stability. Indeed it was U.S. drone strikes rather than Pakistani troops that killed Uighur militant leaders wanted by China in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan.
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    Default What the Gwadar again?

    A rare report from Gwadar, the sometimes controversial and under-used deep-water port in western Balochistan, via The Guardian; the full title being 'A new Shenzhen? Poor Pakistan fishing town's horror at Chinese plans':http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...wn-china-plans

    Well there is nothing like dreams hitting the reality of the region and simple economics - is it cheaper to go overland or stick to the sea lanes?
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default China, Pakistan Poised To Clash Over Militant Sanctuaries

    Well a lot pf people have been wondering how long China would be patient, so this report is interesting. Especially when the Foreign Minister says:
    Every Pakistani must ask whether the people [militants] we nurtured during the past 30 or 40 years are still our [strategic] assets today. Are they our assets or liability? We have to define this on our national level. I am talking about what my children and their children will endure [if we fail].
    First we need to confess our sins and then hope for atonement.
    Link:https://gandhara.rferl.org/a/pakista.../28720725.html

    Shashank Joshi's response:
    The FM has no authority to change policy on this matter.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-07-2017 at 03:31 PM. Reason: 27,260v
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