09 oct 17/Monday
Speaking against China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), United States Defence Secretary James Mattis termed the project as controversial.
US Defence Secretary James Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee that a part of One Belt One Road project passes through ‘disputed territory’. He clarified that US openly opposes this project. This changed US Stand has sent shivers in Pakistan. The statement has been widely covered by Pak Media, which interprets this development as another US pressure tactics on Pakistan to tow its line.
China out rightly rejected the statement by claiming UN support for its controversial One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative.
“We have repeatedly reiterated that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an economic cooperation initiative that is not directed against third parties and has nothing to do with territorial sovereignty disputes and does not affect China’s principled stance on the Kashmir issue”.
However the ground realities are totally different.
India’s refusal to attend the ‘Belt and Road Forum’, organised by China in May, was the first open show of dissent by India on OBOR. As the sequence of events unfolded, it was clear that the Indian move has not gone down well with China. The differences climaxed with Doklam, which has made the world look deeper into the geo-strategic space in Asia. The rising tensions between the two Asian powers does not speak well for the world’s falling economic growth. Major economies of the world wants both China and India to sustain their growth. The world has now realised that a stable Asia is vital to its interests and the recent statement by the Defence Secretary is an indication towards that.
The future course of action towards which, this statement hints at is that; China must address Indian concerns on POK portion of the CPEC, if it is really interested in the economic development of the region. What is veiled in this message is that Chinese hegemony in garb of economic development of the region will not be accepted by the US. It is up to China to understand and address the issue.