BEIJING : A Twitter attack by US President Donald Trump against Pakistan on New Year’s Day will further strengthen the already close ties between Islamabad and Beijing, a report in a leading Chinese daily said. In his first tweet of 2018, Trump charged Pakistan with deceit and treachery and cut off all further aid to Islamabad for harbouring terrorists US troops were hunting in Afghanistan.
The move drew a stern backlash in Pakistan and a staunch defence of Islamabad in Beijing – a dynamic that experts said highlights the further strengthening of the relationship as the US seeks closer ties with India while “casting aspersions on Pakistan”, the Global Times said.
A day after Trump’s tweet, the State Bank of Pakistan announced it has taken steps to ensure the use of the yuan in bilateral trade and financing transactions.
It also said that public and private sectors were free to choose the Chinese currency for bilateral trade and investment activities.
According to the daily, the State Bank of Pakistan’s statement “may not be a dramatic policy change, but the timing made the move significant.
“This is more of a political statement in response to pressure from the US, telling the US that Pakistan has a great relationship with China and that Pakistan would become even closer with China,” said Dong Dengxin, Director of the Finance and Securities Institute at Wuhan University of Science and Technology.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Thursday: “We encourage market entities from both countries to use our own currencies in clearing bilateral trade and investment.”
The daily said Washington’s strategic shift towards New Delhi could also improve military cooperation between Islamabad and Beijing.
Citing a a report published in US media, the paper said China was in talks with Pakistan to build an overseas military base as part of a push for greater maritime capabilities along strategic sea routes.
“Both Beijing and Islamabad have the ability to build a joint naval and air facility in Pakistan. But it is unnecessary at this time,” said Lin Minwang, a professor at Fudan University’s Centre for South Asian Studies.
He said if “the US and its allies push their Indo-Pacific strategy to the extreme, China will surely carry out a plan with Pakistan to ensure the security of sea routes”.