President Alvi’s visit to China could not have come at a better time. China’s battle with the coronavirus and their subsequent victory, alongside Pakistan’s own impending troubles with the infection necessitates a gesture of solidarity at this moment. The Chinese government has been blamed by western circles as the originator of the virus, and as its ally we must stand by its side in a time when global perception might not be too positive.
The visit features a high-powered delegation with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in tow; it is not surprising then that more memorandums of understanding will be signed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in various areas. Our alliance in economic, diplomatic and security matters is such that more cooperation will only result in greater benefits for more sides. For us, the more closely interlinked the two countries become in these areas, the more likely Pakistan is to prosper as well, especially considering China’s active role on the global stage.
Crucially however, with over 100 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Pakistan, taking lessons from the only country that has so far managed to successfully fight off the infection will be the difference between life and death. Hopefully the President and his entourage can sign an agreement for Chinese support on this issue as well. A virus-free Pakistan is in the best interests of China, not only because of the shared border, but also because of Chinese investment into CPEC and other developmental projects throughout Pakistan.
In the time of a pandemic, standing by one’s allies is the way to pull through this without too much damage. The government must be commended for this timely diplomatic overture as it may lead to the crucial prevention of loss of life in Pakistan.