China and Pakistan have signed a new military memorandum of learning to strengthen their already close security relationship after China’s Defence Minister and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Wei Fenghe met Pakistan’s administration in Islamabad and visited the headquarters of the army at Rawalpindi.
Gen. Wei met Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday. He contacted both nations to “push the military-to-military relationship to a higher level, to jointly cope with various risks and challenges, firmly safeguard the sovereignty and security interests of the two countries and safeguard the regional peace and stability,” media reported.
The two militaries signed an agreement after Gen. Wei’s conference with Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, at the General Headquarters on Monday. Both “exchanged in-depth opinions on the international and regional concerns, the links between the two countries and militaries, the supplies and technology collaboration and other problems”, a report in China’s media said. While facts of the new MoU were not presently available, it pursues another deal signed last year, when China’s Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) General Xu Qiliang visited Rawalpindi for security partnership and “capacity building of the Pakistan Army”.
Gen. Wei also examined on-going schemes under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), in which the Pakistani military is recreating a growing major part. Before Gen. Wei’s visit, the recently designated Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong executed a “comprehensive review” of the CPEC assignments along with Lt. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa, who is leading the CPEC Authority. The Chinese Defence Minister also had discussions with Pakistan’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Nadeem Raza, and both flanks “reaffirmed their dedication to ‘Iron Brotherhood’ and ‘All-Weather’ friendship”.
President Arif Alvi described Pakistan “firmly supports China’s stand on issues related to the South China Sea, Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet and so, on Tuesday”, Chinese state media noted. “We hope that the two countries will further strengthen cooperation in the construction of the CPEC as well as the defense and security fields,” he said. Prime Minister Imran Khan reached for “closer strategic cooperation to raise the iron-clad Pakistan-China brotherhood to a new height”.Gen. Wei’s visit pursued his day-long visit to Nepal, where he was the top-ranking Chinese officer to visit since President Xi Jinping’s visit in October last year.
He said China would “continue assisting Nepal’s military development, contributing to regional peace and stability”. The media conveyed that military-to-military ties were expanding with the PLA Air Force initially this year transmitting defensive outfits, medical masks, and thermometers to the Nepalese military. Nepal’s then Defence Minister Ishwar Pokhrel visited Beijing in October 2019 when both sides signed a 150-million yuan ($22.8 million) contract on military assistance, adding that the two militaries have carried combined special forces exercises for three successive years.