日期:2011-05-19 11:10


Pakistan and China

Sweet as can be?

Even an all-weather friendship has limits

May 12th 2011 | BEIJING AND ISLAMABAD | fromThe Economist print edition

Come rain or shine

PAKISTAN’S ambassador to Beijing, Masood Kahn, was this week fully armed with metaphors to describe the robust friendship between the two countries. “We say it is higher than the mountains, deeper than the oceans, stronger than steel, dearer than eyesight, sweeter than honey, and so on.”

巴基斯坦的大使Masood Kahn带着形容两国坚固友谊的隐喻于这个星期到达北京。“我们说它比山高,比海深,比金属坚硬,比视野珍贵,比蜂蜜甜蜜,以及其他。”

The relationship is indeed a geopolitical keystone for both countries. Pakistan serves as China’s closest friend both in South Asia and among Islamic countries. So close, indeed, that many suspect China has asked Pakistan for the valuable remains of the American stealth helicopter abandoned during the bin Laden raid. Meanwhile, China can help counterbalance Pakistan’s arch-rival, India, including in Afghanistan.


Pakistan seems keen to foster the impression that new tensions with America might nudge it even closer towards China. In his blustery speech to parliament on May 9th Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani struck out on an odd tangent to praise China as an “all-weather friend”, providing Pakistan with strength and inspiration. Not to be outdone, President Asif Zardari issued an effusive statement of his own about a friendship “not matched by any other relationship between two sovereign countries”.

巴基斯坦看起来热衷于促进新的与美国关系的紧张状态,而这种热衷则可能会让其与中国的关系更进一步。在其总理Yusuf Raza Gilani 于5月9号对国会充满争议的演讲中,他突然提出了一个奇怪的话题——中国是一位永不分离的伙伴,她给巴基斯坦提供力量与灵感。

But if Islamabad is worried about falling out with Washington and hopes to get more out of Beijing, it may be in for disappointment. According to Zhu Feng of Peking University, such calculations based on “the traditional mentality of power politics” are misplaced. China’s robust, longstanding ties with Pakistan stand on their own merits, he says, and owe nothing to America’s standing in Pakistan. Both China and America want a stable Pakistan.

但是如果伊斯兰堡担心与华盛顿关系破裂,又想从北京得到什么的话,那它就会失望了。按照北京大学的Zhu Feng所说,这种立足于“政治强权的传统思维方式”的推断是错误的。中国与巴基斯坦这种坚固的,长时间存在的友谊立足于他们共同的利益,他说,而不是美国占领巴基斯坦。中国与美国都希望有一个稳定的巴基斯坦。

For all that, China’s dealings with Pakistan have always been conducted with one eye on India. Last year Beijing chose to supply Pakistan with two new civilian nuclear reactors, even though the deal appeared to violate Chinese non-proliferation commitments. It was a boon not only for Pakistan’s energy-starved economy. It was, as Mr Zhu points out, also a way for China to counterbalance a controversial nuclear deal reached earlier between America and India.

因此,中国与巴基斯坦的交往一直都以关注印度来实施的。去年北京选择支援巴基斯坦两个新的核反应堆,即使这个配给违反了中国的不扩散承诺。这个恩惠并不仅仅针对巴基斯坦的能源短缺经济。这个措施,Mr Zhu 指出,同样也是一种对早期有争议的美国与印度关于核交易事件的一种抗衡方式。

China and Pakistan have a lustily growing trade relationship, worth almost $9 billion last year. China provides military gear, including fighter jets and frigates. Some Chinese infrastructure projects in Pakistan have strategic implications. They include ports on the Arabian Sea and a proposed rail project which has yet to be approved, but which would arouse controversy, and Indian ire, by running through contested territory in Kashmir.


Still, China’s commitment to Pakistan has its limits. After devastating floods last year, America gave Pakistan $690m, 28% of all international aid. China’s contribution was a mere $18m. According to Andrew Small of the German Marshall Fund, an American policy institute, Pakistan may be “talking up the ‘China option’ beyond where the Chinese are willing to go.” China, he reckons, will be reluctant to tilt too far towards what might look like an anti-India alliance”. Despite border disagreements, China wants to keep its relations with India in reasonable order.

然而,中国对巴基斯坦的承诺还是有其限制性的。经过去年毁灭性的洪灾后,美国给予了巴基斯坦690,000,000美元,相当于28%的国际援助。中国的捐款则仅仅是18,000,000美元。根据德国马歇尔基金的Andrew Small所说,美国制定了一种政策,巴基斯坦就可能“在中国确定想要前进的方向之前大声谈论‘中国的选择’”。虽然有着边界纷争,中国仍然想与印度保持一种合理的秩序。

What is more, Pakistan’s chronic instability and its failure, whether by design or incompetence, to suppress extremism make Pakistan as hard a partner for China to trust as for America. “Sweeter than honey” may be plenty sweet enough.


  • disappointmentn. 失望,令人失望的人或事
  • fostervt. 养育,培养,促进,鼓励,抱有(希望等) adj.
  • stealthn. 秘密行动,鬼祟
  • impressionn. 印象,效果
  • reasonableadj. 合理的,适度的,通情达理的
  • territoryn. 领土,版图,领域,范围
  • statementn. 声明,陈述
  • iren. 忿怒 vt. 使发怒
  • counterbalancen. 平衡,平衡力 v. 抵销 vt. 使平衡,抵销
  • supplyn. 补给,供给,供应,贮备 vt. 补给,供给,提供,