By Hamza Ameer
Washington, Sep 30 (IANS): Pakistan's Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that Islamabad wants to play an important role in bridging the gap between the US and China in times of geopolitical division, rather than taking sides.
While speaking to Foreign Policy in an interview, Bhutto highlighted that Pakistan maintains an important and unique position on relations with US and China as the country enjoys good friendly relations with the two superpowers, adding that this unique position of Islamabad can help in pave the way towards uniting Washington and Beijing.
"Pakistan's unique position of positive relations with US and China could help encourage cooperation between the two countries," he said.
The Foreign Minister also dismissed recent reports that China did not come to Pakistan's rescue in recent difficult economic times
"This is absolutely incorrect. Islamabad's relationship with Beijing was not new and had long bipartisan roots," he said,
"And I like to say that we wanted to be friend with China when nobody wanted to be friends with China. Now, everybody wants to be friends with China."
During the interview, Bilawal countered questions that US did not want to be friends with China, stating that the scope of relationships should not be based on geopolitical conflicts.
"Not everything is about the geopolitical conflict of the US and China. It was preposterous and absolutely ridiculous that a conversation about US and China relations was occurring while talking about Pakistan's survival and ability to deal with the cataclysmic flooding," he added.
Talking about the catastrophic effects of climate change that Pakistan is currently suffering to in relation to the debated conflict between US and China, Bilawal insisted that the challenges of climate change could not be confronted and tackled if the two superpowers refused to work together.
When argued about China's lack of aid to Sri Lanka during their economic crisis, Bilawal stated that it was Beijing's decision on how it wants to extend its support to any other country.
"In the sense that was solely an economic crisis of its own dynamics. But as far as what China does, whether it's with Sri Lanka or Pakistan, that's totally China's decision," he said.
"Just like it's 100 per cent America's decision in either of these circumstances."
Bilawal reiterated that it was in Pakistan's best interest to not take sides between US and China at times when the one-third of the country is under water as a result of the catastrophic floods.
He said Pakistan does not want to become part of what he termed as a "geopolitical conflict-based football match".
"Right now, particularly when we're drowning in floods, I don't want to play any part in exacerbating any tensions or being a geopolitical football," he said adding that "it was a mutual consensus within Pakistan that the country would not allow itself to be dragged into the Russia–Ukraine crisis also".
Bilawal reasoned Pakistan's position on the Russia–Ukraine war with reference to Afghanistan conflict, from which, he said Islamabad was just coming out.
"We are just coming out of a decades long conflict in Afghanistan and frankly, we're exhausted by what war does and the consequences for any one country."