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In his 30-minute speech to parliament following the U.S. raid on Osama Bin Laden, Pakistan Prime Minister made one thing very clear: China is is Pakistan’s new best friend.According to the Globe and Mail, Gilani will remain receptive to U.S. relations and the $4 billion aid package his country receives every year, but he is looking to China as a long-term stabilizing presence.
China does not offer Pakistan much assistance, but it does provide nuclear cooperation, and what it demands in return, like access to mining and ports, has yet to cause the type of uproar following the May 2 raid.
During his speech, Gilani said:
We are delighted that our all-weather friend, the People’s Republic of China, has made tremendous strides in economic and technological development that are a source of inspiration and strength for the people of Pakistan.
The “all-weather” reference refers to the wavering attention the U.S. devotes to the region. Such as during the Soviet occupation in the 1980’s and then not again until the War on Terror on the last decade. Some in Pakistan believe that with the death of Bin Laden, and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Pakistan in 2014, U.S. attention will again drift elsewhere.
Whether such statements are any more than political posturing, meant to antagonize U.S. officials, remains to be seen.