Allaying China’s Security Concerns in Pakistan Post Inception of CPEC

Key Points:

  • In his recent interaction, President Xi Jinping pressed Prime Minister Shahbaz to “accelerate” the construction of necessary infrastructure in Gwadar port, indicating dismay from both the development and security perspectives.
  • Though politico-bureaucratic delays and lack of inter-provincial coordination have generated lags in the progress of CPEC, worsening security is another important contributing factor.
  • While the CPC harbours legitimate concerns about threats to CPEC and Chinese citizens, data shows the magnitude is grossly exaggerated.
  • After the selection of Shahbaz Sharif as Prime Minister by the PDM coalition and a deadly female suicide bombing that killed a further three Chinese residents, Beijing doubled down hard and vowed not just to “safeguard” but “counter” threats to Chinese assets and interests with Pakistan’s assistance.
  • Likewise, Chinese diplomatic and security authorities pushed overt engagement with multiple stakeholders in Pakistan.
  • Beijing will not hesitate to help Islamabad out of a financial abyss, but it needs to see a sustained political-security framework of engagement.

Zaki Khalid

The author is an Intelligence Analyst, Trainer and Consultant with management-level experience in Pakistan's national security sector. He writes for CSCR as an External Contributor and can be reached on Twitter: @misterzedpk

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