Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan on Tuesday said Pakistan cannot be pressurized into changing or downgrading its relations with China.
Pakistan and China enjoy a "very special relationship" spanning over 70 years and nothing could change these time-tested ties, the Prime Minister said during an exclusive interview with LIU Xin of China Global Television Network.
The Prime Minister spoke at length upon the deep-rooted ties between the two countries. He stressed that no matter what happens, no matter what pressure is exerted on Pakistan, the relationship between the two countries would remain the same.
He said that there was a "strange, great rivalry" taking place in the region, which was public knowledge.
"You see the United States being wary of China. The way United States and China are looking at each other creates problems because what the United States is doing is it's formed this regional alliance called the Quad, which is US, India and a couple of other countries," Khan said.
"So, from that point of view, Pakistan thinks that it is very unfair of the US and other Western powers [to make] countries like Pakistan take sides. Why should we take sides? We should have good relations with everyone," he maintained.
The prime minister categorically said that Pakistan cannot be pressured to change its relations or downgrade its ties with China.
"The relationship between Pakistan and China is very deep. It's not just the governments, but it's a people-to-people relationship," the premier said.
The people of China have a special place in the hearts of Pakistanis, he said, adding: "You remember friends who stand with you at all times. In good times, everyone stands with you, but in difficult, tough, and bad times, you remember those people who stood by you."
Responding to a question about how to further deepen Sino-Pakistan ties, Imran Khan said that the two sides enjoyed strong political ties but the relationship was not only limited to official relations but it was also "people-to-people relationship".
He said trade was important to increase ties in future and termed the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as the "biggest thing happening in Pakistan".
The CPEC, which connects Gwadar Port in Pakistan's Balochistan with China's Xinjiang province, is the flagship project of China's ambitious multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Highlighting the 70 years of diplomatic ties, Imran Khan said China always stood with Pakistan, which "always had a very special relationship with China".
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