ISLAMABAD - As the Pakistan-US standoff over the reopening of NATO supplies persists, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will arrive here on a two-day visit on May 29 to discuss the deadlock in ties between Islamabad and Washington as well as other regional and global matters with the Pakistani leadership.
Contrary to expectations about the settlement and reconciliatory statements by the leaders from Islamabad and Washington over the possible reopening of NATO supplies, the stalemate in the relations between two major nations in anti-terrorism campaign is going nowhere and the two sides are still engaged in hectic efforts to iron out their differences.
Islamabad and Washington are unable to do away with their differences on future taxation on NATO containers crossing into Afghanistan once the NATO supplies are restored and after a week of silence, Pakistan has once again started making the demand of public apology from US over the air strikes on its border posts.
Two leading American senators, John McCain and Carl Levin were quoted by the US media on Tuesday as telling the Obama administration not to give exorbitant trucking fees to Pakistan while terming it ‘extortion’.
Pakistan is asking US to pay a tax worth $5,000 to it for each supply truck that will cross its border into Afghanistan and also give it money in terms of damages to the roads and highways caused by heavy NATO traffic before the closure of these supplies.
The diplomatic circles in Islamabad are attaching great importance to the visit of the Chinese foreign minister to Islamabad against this backdrop and they say Chinese leader will discuss in detail his country’s position on the Pakistan-US row with the Pakistani leadership.
“As a true well wisher and close friendly state and neighbour, China fully supports Pakistan’s sovereignty and it has many a time expressed it clearly that it would stand firmly with Pakistan during any testing time but at the same time it is also urging Islamabad to settle its row with US as soon as possible and not to prolong it,” said a diplomatic source seeking anonymity.
“The Chinese foreign minister is once again expected to demonstrate full solidarity with Islamabad at this critical juncture and he would listen to Pakistan’s point of view on tension in ties with the United States,” the source said.
The Chinese foreign minister would also discuss with Pakistani authorities the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit to be held on June 6-7 in Beijing. China is hosting the summit for the third time since its inception.
A Pakistani official said apart from the leaders of member states of SCO, presidents of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran will also attend the summit. “President Asif Ali Zardari will represent Pakistan at the SCO summit,” he said.
Founded in 2001, the SCO include China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, while Mongolia, Pakistan, Iran and India are observer states in this regional grouping. Belarus and Sri Lanka became the SCO dialogue partners in 2010.
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