The Status Of US-China Military Relations And Joe Biden’s Visit To Pakistan

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Context

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates met top Chinese military officials after a hiatus of almost a year. The meetings are taking place in Beijing before the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to Washington later this month (January 18-21). The military to military relations between the two countries deteriorated since US announced to provide Taiwan with more than $6.4 billion dollars of military aid and equipment. Although the US-China relations have remained tense, the reset in US-Russian relations has progressed well. This was signified by the speedy ratification of the New START Treaty by US Congress, just before the expiration of its term.

Senior US and Chinese officials are holding talks as the Korean Peninsula remains tense and where US wants China to exert influence over the North Koreans. There are also reports in Indian media that Chinese may have carried out an infiltration in the Demchok area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Leh district.

On the other hand, Vice President Joe Biden is reportedly traveling to Pakistan with a promise of increased military, economic, and intelligence cooperation and assistance. His visit is taking place in the backdrop of these key developments:

  • Turkish sponsored peace talks between Afghanistan and Pakistan towards reintegrating Taliban, have gained momentum.
  • The agreement on the US sponsored Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India gas pipeline project was signed last month (December 2010).
  • Assassination of Governor Punjab, Salman Taseer.
  • The increasing fragility of Pakistan’s economy and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led alliance, with dwindling prospects for the approval of reformed General Sales Tax (RGST).

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