China Building Goodwill In Pakistan, As U.S.-Pakistan Relationship Hits Rough Spot

From Breitbart:
GWADAR, PAKISTAN — While the United States enters a low period in its relationship with Pakistan, China is quietly but steadily building goodwill in the country — symbolized by a gleaming new port it helped build in the southern city of Gwadar.

Set against soaring white cliffs and the sparkling blue sea, the Gwadar Port feels like it’s located somewhere in the Mediterranean, not Pakistan.

Boasting newly-paved terminals and freshly-painted blue-and-orange shipping cranes, the multi-purpose port is owned by Pakistan’s Gwadar Port Authority and operated by the state-owned China Overseas Ports Holding Company Ltd.

In March, Breitbart News and several other U.S. journalists were invited by the Pakistan government to view the port, and other signs of the country’s economic progress.

“We are twin brothers,” said Dostain Khan Jamaldini, chairman of the Gwadar Port Authority, of his Chinese counterpart, Zhang Baozhong, chairman and CEO of China Overseas Ports Holding Company Ltd…..

In January, President Trump cut security assistance to Pakistan by more than $300 million, and tweeted on New Year’s Day, “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”.

The cutting of aid is part of the administration’s plan to increase pressure on Pakistan to stop providing safe haven for the Taliban and other terrorists engaged in the Afghanistan War. U.S. officials blame Pakistan for allowing terrorists to launch attacks in Afghanistan and escape into its borders.

Pakistan officials say they are not providing safe haven to terrorists, and argue they have limited reach in the semi-autonomous border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. They also point to a major counterterrorism operation they have been waging against terrorists since 2014, and say they are going after those who attack in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Both sides acknowledge the relationship is strained. Against this backdrop, some Pakistani officials see China as a potential alternative partner, and a closer relationship with China as a potential counterbalance to the U.S.’s growing relationship with their regional rival India.

“You kick me, you push me out of the room. Where do I go?” said a senior Pakistan official who spoke to reporters on background. “So more than we going to China, I think U.S. is pushing us faster, harder because we are children of lesser god. That is how U.S. can treat its lifelong ally.”

China appears to be taking advantage of Pakistani grievances.

Zhang, dressed entirely in Pakistani local attire, said he is not a politician but talks in platitudes that exhibit China’s soft power approach to its partners. He said the Chinese and Pakistanis have a lot in common. Both, he said, “are humble, hardworking, and peace-loving people.”

“We feel our culture is very similar to Pakistani culture. We believe it is our duty, that we should help Pakistan,” he said. “Pakistan really sacrifice a lot because of terrorism. Poverty is the root of terrorism,” he said. “If people enjoy good life, why they go to terrorism?”

He compared Pakistan to a “good boy” who does “good things” and should not be punished. “You have to encourage them in the right direction." [...]

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