Jun 12, 2021, 7:46 PM
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Iran-China comprehensive document promises regional development: Pak experts

Islamabad, June 12, IRNA -- Diplomats, international relations experts, and university professors from Pakistan on Saturday say 25-year Iran-China comprehensive cooperation document is an emerging challenge for the US, adding that it would promise sustainable development in the region.

They expressed the views at a Panel Discussion on ‘China-Iran Deal: Prospects for Pakistan’ organized by the Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East & Africa (CAMEA) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI).
Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General ISSI in his remarks said that strategically speaking, the Iran-China deal appears as a natural partnership between Pakistan and China based on their shared relations with the United States and their prospects of collaboration in energy and investment exchanges.
While talking about the impacts of the deal on Pakistan he mentioned that instability in Afghanistan will also affect the deal. Given the requirements of China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) it is important to focus on the Balochistan province which will help give impetus to business activities that will ensue.
Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman ISSI viewed the deal as a comprehensive road map for the future and believed that it would enable better Iran-Pakistan ties.
He said that he did not expect China to play a proactive role in regional politics but keep it limited to economic cooperation.
Ali Ahmadi an international affairs expert said that Iran is pushed into a corner by American pressure which has led Iran to find common ground with China. Two countries must prioritize the relationship for its full potential to be realized. He noted that the GCC countries are aligned with the US so Iran is more of a natural partner of China.
Talking about the security aspect he was of the view that China seems disinclined to get involved in the security frameworks of other regions. For example, in Yemen, they were invited to play a role but China deferred.
He noted China may become a facilitator for economic cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The military presence of China in Iran is not acceptable to the people of Iran but that doesn't rule out military cooperation, he stated.

Iran-China comprehensive document promises regional development: Pak experts

Amina Khan, Director CAMEA, said that the conclusion of this agreement is a major milestone in the China-Iran bilateral relationship.
She said that while the whole world closely follows progress in expanding China-Iran ties, no one is more eager than a neighbor to both Iran and China — Pakistan which has direct political, economic, and security interests, and will also be the country benefitting most from expanding cooperation in its immediate neighborhood.
Syed Qandil Abbas, Professor of Politics and International Relations at Quaid-e-Azam University called the China-Iran deal a major milestone.
He outlined how China is increasing its foothold in the Middle East both economically and diplomatically.
He mentioned that trade with the Middle East has increased from $227 to $297 billion. In this backdrop, this deal can be considered as a bailout package for Iran. Moreover, it will support the Iranian economy and it will also help lessen the effects of US sanctions.
While highlighting the impacts of the deal on Pakistan he pointed out that trilateral partnership can enhance the chances of cooperation in the region and this will ultimately challenge Indian hegemony in the region. He was of the view that Chinese engagement will bring prosperity to the region and help in conflict resolution.
While talking about Pakistan he said that, at this stage, the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline is an important issue for Pakistan. Pakistan may be able to mature its gas pipeline with Iran after the deal is materialized. He mentioned that this deal will create prospects of border management between Iran and Pakistan.
He stated that the Afghanistan issue should be resolved at a regional level. China has established good relations and economic ties with Afghanistan. This trilateral cooperation will help to bring peace to Afghanistan.
Talat Shabbir, Director China-Pakistan Study Center (CPSC) at ISSI said that the China-Iran Deal is a significant development in the region. It has both economic and security components. Three major aspects of the deal in the US viewpoint are that first, this deal is between two adversaries and it will have security implications in times to come. Secondly, the US and China are trying to increase their sphere of influence in the region. Thirdly China is helping Iran to come out of the economic situation which the US itself has created.

Iran-China comprehensive document promises regional development: Pak experts

While talking about Gawadar and Chabhar, he said that both ports are sister ports and will complement each other. He said that China can develop Chabahar as an important commercial port and that this deal will undermine India's role in the region. He said that the road to China replacing US influence in the region will be a gradual one and China will have to face complications in this regard.

On April 27 this year, during the visit of Wang Yi, a member of the State Council and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China to Tehran, a document on comprehensive strategic cooperation between Iran and China was signed by the Foreign Ministers of the two countries.

The document dates back to the official visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Tehran, during which the Islamic Republic of Iran and the People's Republic of China issued a statement raising the level of relations between the two countries to "comprehensive strategic partnership."

Earlier, Pakistani parties, diplomats and political figures had welcomed the signing of a comprehensive document on cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran and China, calling it in the interests of the region, especially Pakistan.

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