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The Enemy of Hegemony is My Friend: Pakistan’s de facto ‘Alliance’ with China
Testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee

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by John Tkacik
Published on July 26th, 2011

Since the successful elimination on May 1st of al Qaeda chieftain Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and Pakistan’s official expressions of unhappiness with America’s perceived violations of Pakistan’s sovereignty, there has been considerable speculation in the news media that somehow China recently has begun to eclipse the United States as Pakistan’s most important ally.1

This is unfounded, unrealistic and betrays a lack of understanding of Pakistan’s strategic relationship with China.  China has always been Pakistan’s most important strategic ally,2 and the intensity of Pakistan’s relationship with the United States has always been a subset of Pakistan’s all-consuming strategic calculus about India. 

History of a Strategic Relationship

China’s geopolitical interests in Pakistan were kindled in the first Sino-Indian War of 1962, a war rooted in China’s occupation of the Aksai Chin portion of Indian-claimed Kashmir six years earlier.  In March 1963, as the Sino-Indian war died down, the Pakistani government signed a border agreement with China in which China formally recognized Pakistan’s claims to Kashmir, and Pakistan, in turn, demarcated Pakistan’s claimed border in Kashmir (which was, in fact, occupied by India – see annex map) to the south of the Aksai Chin.3 Moreover, China and Pakistan pledged to build a highway through the Karakoram range as the first land bridge between the two countries.  India was, of course, livid.  But India had lost its war with China and was not interested in fighting another. 

Pakistan came to rely on China for weapons and military equipment almost immediately after losing the first Indo-Pakistan War in 1965.  Between 1965 and 1968, China provided Pakistan with a considerable amount of war materiel, including at least 160 T-59 medium tanks and 124 MiG-19 jet fighters.4  Certainly, theirs has been the single most important military alliance that either of the two nations has had since the late 1950s. 

Pakistan and China have cooperated quite closely across the entire spectrum of military and security affairs ever since.  The news last month that China and Pakistan are cooperating in the joint development of the JF-17 multirole jet fighter is essentially old news.  The two countries have been working on the JF-17 for at least a decade.  Nor was it surprising that China is considering sales of a newer, more capable fighter, the J-10, to Pakistan, as the Pakistani defense minister announced in May.5  The Pakistan Naval Ship Aslat, the fourth jointly-developed China-Pakistan F-22P Zulfiqar class frigate, was launched from its drydock in Karachi in May.6 China reportedly is preparing for the sale of six advanced diesel-electric submarines with “air independent propulsion” (AIP) to Pakistan, submarines which contain some of the most advanced underwater propulsion systems in the world.7

Pakistan is, by any measure, a major strategic ally of China’s; in military and naval systems, in naval base construction (at Gwadar), in nuclear power, hydro electric power and cross border highways which China hopes will link China’s far west with the Indian Ocean.8 More significantly, China has, for at least thirty years, provided Pakistan with equipment, technical aid, designs, fissile materials and money essential to Pakistan’s development of nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems.  This is documented amply in the public record – particularly in documents declassified at the request of the National Security Archive project at George Washington University.9 

China-Pakistan Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Good-neighborly Relations, signed on April 5, 2005,10 is as close as the two countries get to a formal declaration of strategic alignment.  In May 2006, Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz emphasized Pakistan's deep military and economic relationship with China was one, not based on “transient interests”, but that was “higher than the Himalayas, deeper than the sea” (no Pakistani has ever expended quite such fulsome encomium on its ties with the United States). Aziz went on to explain the geopolitical ramifications of Pakistan’s ties with China, referring to Newton's third law of motion – every action has an equal and opposite reaction – that a strong Pakistan-China relationship was a natural reaction to the India-U.S. relationship.11 

Evidently, China felt the same way.  When Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Islamabad in November 2006 (a few days after China’s Ambassador in New Delhi reiterated China’s territorial claim to the entire Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh12), he and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf issued a joint statement which explained that the Treaty provided “an important legal foundation for the Strategic Partnership” between their two nations. But in fact, the security relationship extends at least to 1965.

It is difficult to overstate how important Pakistan views its strategic relationship with the People’s Republic of China.  China is, quite simply, central to Pakistan’s view of its survival.  Without its alliance with China, Pakistan believes it could not exist as an autonomous state actor on the South Asian subcontinent.  Indeed, in the world today, there is no more profound demonstration of the existence of a strategic alliance than the exchange of nuclear weapons materials, technology and delivery systems between states.

By the same token, Pakistan is central to China’s entire strategic posture in South Asia.  Without a militarily powerful Pakistan, China believes it is vulnerable along its entire southwestern border with India – not simply in military terms, but also in terms of the legitimacy of China’s continued occupation of Tibet from the tri-border junction with India and Burma in the east, all along its 5,600 kilometers of borderlands with India, Bhutan, Nepal to Pakistan in the west.13 

The America factor in the Sino-Pakistan Alliance

Twice, first in the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War and again in the second Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, China faced the prospect of Indian dismemberment of Pakistan and the subjugation of the subcontinent to India.  At the same time, the United States was clandestinely supporting Tibetan refugee armies based in India that constantly harassed Chinese military deployments in Tibet and supported the Tibetan government in exile based in India.

As the Sino-Soviet ideological split became visible in 1958 and burst into full hostilities in 1962, India appeared in Beijing’s eyes a strategic ally of the Soviet Union.  Yet it was not until 1969 that the United States – during the Nixon Administration – began to regard India, too, as a Soviet client state.  By the time of Dr. Henry Kissinger’s first secret mission to Beijing – exactly 40 years ago this month – the United States had begun to see China as a strategic counterweight to the Soviet Union.  Indeed, Pakistan’s president Yahya Khan was the most essential line of communication between Washington and Beijing’s leaders in arranging for Kissinger’s secret mission. In this context, Kissinger had become sympathetic and cooperative with China’s desire to tilt the balance of power in South Asia away from India and toward Pakistan.14  (By December 6, 1971, Kissinger recommended that President Nixon tacitly approve a proposal by the Shah of Iran covertly transfer U.S.-origin weapons to Pakistan at the height of the Second Indo-Pakistan war, despite the fact that the transfer would, in Kissinger’s words, “be illegal.”15)

Through the rest of the Cold War and five subsequent U.S. administrations, the United States maintained a strong – if not always consistent – geopolitical alignment with the Sino-Pakistan alliance and generally tolerated Beijing’s determined efforts to build a strong Pakistan vis-ŕ-vis India.  The most visible part of this triangular relationship was the US-China-Pakistan cooperation in supplying the anti-Soviet resistance in Afghanistan from 1979 through 1989. 

Valentine’s Day 1989, the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan marked the successful conclusion of the US-China-Pakistan trilateral entente in South Asia – at least as far as the United States was concerned. The collapse of the Soviet Union on January 1, 1992, made America’s strategic cooperation with Pakistan and China irrelevant. 

China and Pakistan in the 1990s: Prologue to September 11

But the strategic imperatives of the Pakistan-China alliance persisted as both countries continued to perceive strategic vulnerabilities with India.  Through the 1990s, Pakistan adjudged that India was trying to regain a foothold in Afghanistan – to Pakistan’s strategic rear – especially in India’s complex relationship with the Afghan Northern Alliance.  Pakistan believed that its financial and military support for the Afghan Taliban was essential to controlling India’s presence. 

By the summer of 2001, the destabilizing nature of China’s missile and nuclear relationship with Pakistan had frustrated Washington which was already intensely irritated with China (because of a collision of military aircraft over the South China Sea and the detention of U.S. service personnel in April).  On September 1, the Bush Administration announced sanctions against a major Chinese state-owned arms company for transferring "substantial amounts" of missile parts and technology to Pakistan just a few months after signing an accord with Washington was supposed to halt all missile exports.16 A few days later, Beijing dispatched a senior military delegation to Pakistan to implement “enhanced” military cooperation.17

America’s role in the Sino-Pakistan calculus changed somewhat with the terrorist attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, as Pakistan came under excruciating American pressure to acquiesce in dislodging Islamabad’s own Taliban clients from Afghanistan.  But it is quite evident from the contemporaneous media reports that China was uneasy with this development – not just it considered India, but primarily because it portended an entirely new American military footprint in Central Asia.  In the days following the terrorist attacks, China appeared somewhat disappointed that Pakistan felt compelled to cooperate, even superficially, with American plans to destroy the Taliban government in Afghanistan.  If America could bully China’s most important ally in Asia, Beijing reasoned, China’s newly- crafted leadership role in Central Asia, via the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), would be undermined.

The complexity of the Pakistan-China alliance relationship was apparent in the first weeks after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.   Some analysts have claimed China encouraged Pakistan to cooperate with the United States in the days after September 11. The evidence suggests that opposite was true. China’s top Asia specialist, Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi, was dispatched to Islamabad on September 22, but was unable to reach any consensus with the Pakistanis other than a vaguely-worded statement that “it can be said that China and Pakistan’s position on the fight against terrorism are in accord with each other.”18 The strange lack of a joint statement following such an important diplomatic move suggested that the vice minister’s real purpose in Islamabad was to reassure Pakistan of Beijing’s unwavering support against American pressure.19 Chinese troop movements that same day heading down the Karakoram highway towards the mountainous areas around the Pakistani and Afghan borders were obviously not designed to prevent Afghan intruders (the mountains separating China and Afghanistan are over 20,000 feet high, and were controlled by anti-Taliban forces), but instead to reassure Pakistan of the proximity of Chinese forces.20

In October, 2001, Beijing’s diplomatic coolness toward U.S. plans to strike al Qaeda bases in Afghanistan was grounded in fears of greater U.S. involvement in Central Asia, a region that it saw within its own sphere of influence by virtue of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) treaty of a few months earlier which China hoped would cement its leadership in Central Asia. In a call to Pakistan’s President Musharraf on October 1, 2001, just prior to the U.S. air war against al Qaeda and the Taliban, Chinese President Jiang Zemin stressed one thing: any conter-terrorism operation must be conducted with “conclusive evidence and concrete targets” and must comply with the United Nations charter and international law.  Jiang, however, stressed that no matter what Pakistan chose to do, friendship between the two countries “had stood the test of time, and no matter what happens, the friendly relations will not be affected.”21

It was in this context that China’s Chief of General Staff, General Fu Quanyou, in comments to his visiting Pakistani counterpart, warned the U.S. against using the War on Terror to dominate global affairs: “counter-terrorism should not be used to practice hegemony.”22 “Hegemony,” in the post-Cold War era of America’s “Unipolar Moment,” had become a Chinese codeword for “The United States.”  In March 2002, General Xiong Guangkai, deputy chief of staff for intelligence in the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army, visited Islamabad and signed two agreements on “defense cooperation” and “Defense production” with Pakistani counterparts.  Pakistan still regarded China as a more reliable ally than the United States.  Commenting on Gen. Xiong’s visit, Pakistan’s The Nation newspaper put it in the context of “Deepening U.S.-Pak relations [in the wake of 9/11 that] could lead to unintended strain in its ties with a trusted and sincere friend like China.”23

Sino-Pakistani Nuclear Weapons and Missile Cooperation24

Twenty years ago, when United States intelligence assets first obtained conclusive evidence of China’s transfer of nuclear-capable M-11 short range ballistic missiles, components, designs and manufacturing technology to Pakistan (even after Presidents Carter and Reagan had concluded that China was central to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons development25), Washington put considerable pressure on Beijing to stop these transfers.  In 1992, Chinese arms control diplomats explained to American counterparts that the “US-Soviet nuclear arms race produced a de facto political stability that prevented direct conflict,” and questioned whether other rival states, “such as Pakistan-India” shouldn’t be allowed the same chance to prevent conflict through nuclear deterrence” and noted that China had already “accused Washington of ‘nuclear blackmail’ and of using its post-September policy review as a pretext to resume nuclear tests and develop new weapons.”26

Those were the days when Washington still had leverage in Beijing. 

Initially, American officials were gratified that Beijing curtailed its proliferation to Pakistan and North Korea, but were quickly dismayed to find instead that China had begun to facilitate the exchange of Pakistani nuclear weapons technology – across Chinese territory – for North Korea’s short- and medium-range missiles. 

China’s decades of robust technical assistance and provision of specialized equipment and materials to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program is well known.27  But China’s central role in Pakistan-North Korea exchanges of missiles and nuclear weapons is less frequently commented upon. 

For over a decade beginning in 1993, China had acquiesced in (but more likely it had actively encouraged) Pakistan's barter trade of nuclear weapons designs, technologies and equipment for North Korean long-range missiles following China's cessation of direct missile and nuclear weapons materials to Pakistan (apparently in an as-yet undisclosed quid pro quo deal with the Clinton administration that Chinese leader Jiang Zemin found most agreeable).28 

In 2003, Pakistan's late prime minister Benazir Bhutto – concerned that her legacy might be one of pro-Americanism rather than Pakistan patriotism, confided in a friend: "Let me tell you something, I have done more for my country than all the military chiefs of Pakistan combined."29  She then revealed that she had delivered "critical nuclear data" as part of a barter deal for North Korean missile components and designs on her December 30, 1993, visit to Pyongyang, known to – and aided by – China. 

Before arriving in Pyongyang, Bhutto conferred with top Chinese leaders, including Premier Li Peng with whom she spent two hours, a session she termed as “most rewarding.”30 In a meeting with Pakistani reporters, Bhutto noted only that she discussed Kashmir and nuclear nonproliferation with her Chinese counterparts, and added “I was deeply moved during my talks with the president. The president stated that Pakistan was China's closest friend and that China would never forget an old friend. The prime minister assured me that China will always remain Pakistan's staunch ally regardless of any changes in the world.”31  Bhutto described Pakistan-China friendship as an "all-weather relationship", and according to Xinhua news agency, averred that “her countrymen will never forget China's assistance to Pakistan at critical times.”  Bhutto then, in a revealing portrayal of Pakistan-China relations, “reiterated that Pakistan-China ties are ‘the cornerstone’ of Pakistan's foreign policy, saying that her government wants to further its all-round co-operation with China.”32 

The Bhutto visit to Pyongyang took place at a particularly sensitive time for Pakistan, China and North Korea.  The United States threatened sanctions on China for transferring nuclear-capable missiles to Pakistan.  North Korea was in delicate negotiations with the United States over its refusal to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect its nuclear facilities.  So perhaps even the Pakistani Prime Minister believed she was obliged to maintain strict operational security in transferring CD-ROM's of sensitive nuclear data to Pakistan, and therefore needed "an overcoat with the 'deepest possible pockets' into which she transferred CDs containing the scientific data about uranium enrichment that the North Koreans wanted."  Bhutto's visit to Beijing and Pyongyang, her first trip abroad after her October 1993 election as Prime Minister, were marked by oratorical paeans to Pakistan-China and Pakistan-North Korea friendship, including Bhutto's own avowal that "nuclear nonproliferation should not be made a pretext for preventing states from fully exercising their right to acquire and develop nuclear technology."33

The atomic weapons designs that Bhutto transferred to North Korea were likely Chinese. 

In the 1980s, Beijing transferred to Pakistan’s chief weapons researcher, A.Q. Khan, blueprints for a smaller nuclear device that could fit atop a ballistic missile, designs that had the names of the Chinese ministers involved in the deal scribbled upon them.34  Khan resold these blueprints to Libya, and certainly paid the same favor to North Korea.35  Indeed, Chinese assistance has always been essential to Pyongyang's plutonium separation program.  Through 2002, according to the Washington Post, The United States observed “a series of suspect purchases” by Pakistan from North Korea and vice versa.36 In July 2002, U.S. intelligence-collectors had happened upon a Pakistani military C-130 transport plane that had flown through Chinese airspace carrying a cargo from Pakistan’s top-secret nuclear weapons base, the Khan Research Laboratory. The C-130’s cargo was probably $75 million worth of equipment relating to a uranium enrichment centrifuge. It landed at a Chinese military base to refuel, and proceeded on to North Korea. The aircraft returned to Pakistan carrying a North Korean No-dong ballistic missile, again, via a refueling stop at a Chinese military base.37  The flights were only a small fraction in a series of secret Pakistani C-130 missions, facilitated by its ally China, to North Korea that dated back at least to 1998.38

Since 2002, The United States has sanctioned Chinese companies for providing North Korea with tributyl phosphate, an acid solvent used in the extraction of uranium and plutonium salts from nuclear reactor effluents39 – most recently in April 2004 (incongruously just one month before the U.S. State Department recommended that China be admitted to the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, an ad hoc international nonproliferation organization).40  In 2003, at U.S. insistence, China interdicted one such shipment41 but there is no indication that China has made any other effort to enforce its export controls on North Korea.  It is the opinion of arms control experts at the U.S. State Department that China enforces its rules “only under the imminent threat, or in response to the actual imposition, of sanctions” and that China’s failure to respond is not so much an “inability” to enforce its export regulations as an “unwillingness” to do so.42

As late as March 2003, U.S. intelligence reportedly tracked a cargo ship carrying ten “Scud” SRBM’s from North Korea to Pakistan “possibly in return for Islamabad’s nuclear technology”, which “was refueled at a PRC port” before proceeding on to Pakistan.43 It is difficult, then, to avoid the conclusion that China acquiesced in these transfers, and probably facilitated them outright.

Conclusion: the Enemy of Hegemony is my Friend

In the fourth century before Christ, ancient Taxila – now in Pakistan – was home to one of the most revered figures in the history of strategic thought, Kautilya.  In his treatise, the Artha-Shastra (“The Science of Material Gain”) Kautilya outlined for the Mauryan emperor a model of international conflict and alliances that provides a framework for understanding the geographic determinants of Pakistan’s contemporary international conflicts and alignments.  Basically, it read "the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and the friend of my enemy is my enemy."  A king, observed Kautilya, will always find a bordering state hostile, and should seek an ally to the rear of that hostile state.  Likewise, this enemy state will seek an ally on the other side of the king, and so too will those states seek allies likewise.  Thus Kautilya explained:

The third and fifth states from a Madhyama king are states friendly to him; while the second, the fourth and the sixth states are unfriendly.44

It was the first articulation of the maxim “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” It is this fact which is at the center of the Sino-Pakistan alliance, a comprehensive strategic relationship that has been a part of South Asia’s geopolitical landscape for over 50 years.  So far as Pakistan is concerned, its giant neighbor India seeks hegemony on the subcontinent, and Pakistan’s existential imperative is to confound that hegemony.  Likewise, China’s grand strategy posits that the United States seeks global hegemony – and India is America’s ally in that quest.

For the United States to achieve a true strategic partnership with Pakistan, it must share Pakistan’s posture toward India.  It follows, then, that subduing India also demands acquiescing in China’s ultimate hegemony in Asia.  In reassessing America’s grand strategy in South Asia, the United States must first reassess its global “grand strategy.”  If America can live with an Asia under Chinese hegemony, and with a crippled India, then America can have Pakistan’s enthusiastic partnership against the Taliban.  Decisions like this are, as they say, above my pay grade.  Instead, they are properly the focus of these hearings and the deliberations of the Executive.  

Aksai-Chin Border Area Map – Taken from


[1] This is the subtext of several analyses.  See James Lamont and Farhan Bokhari, “China and Pakistan: An alliance is built,” Financial Times, June 30, 2011, at; Griff Witte, “Pakistan courts China as relations with U.S. grow strained,” The Washington Post, June 22, 2011, at; David Pilling, “China’s masterclass in schmoozing Pakistan,” Financial Times, May 25 2011at; Kathrin Hille and Farhan Bokhari, “Show of support as China hosts Pakistan PM in Islamabad,” Financial Times, May 19, 2011 at; “Pakistan’s Gilani visits old ally China as Islamabad deals with strained ties with Washington,” The Associated Press, May 17, 2011; Farhan Bokhari and Daniel Dombey, “Kerry talks of ‘make or break’ Pakistan ties,” Financial Times, May 16, 2011, at;

[2] Aside from the China-Pakistan Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Good-neighborly Relations, signed on April 5, 2005, there is no specific treaty of alliance binding Beijing and Islamabad.  But the relationship certainly qualifies as an alliance: Professor Stephen M. Walt defines an alliance as a “formal or informal relationship of security cooperation between two or more states” which includes “some level of commitment and exchange of benefits for both parties.”  Stephen M. Walt, The Origins of Alliances, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1990.

[3] The Aksai Chin, though as remote a plot of 10,000 square miles as exists on earth, was seized by China’s People’s Liberation Army in 1956 apparently in the belief that India wouldn’t notice.  And indeed India didn’t notice until the PLA constructed military highway through it; it was China’s only land route between Chinese Xinjiang and Western Tibet.  India’s Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru only informed Parliament of the Chinese occupation in August 1959 at the onset of the ideological split between Moscow and Beijing.

[4] Immediately following the First Indo-Pakistan War, Pakistan also covertly transferred to China spare parts and material samples of the U.S. F-104 supersonic fighter jet.  See U.S. Department of State Intelligence Note—944 of December 4, 1968 entitled “Pakistan and Communist China Strengthen Cooperation,” available at

[5] Jeremy Page, “China to Speed Up Fighter Jets for Pakistan,” The Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2011, at

[6] Lamont and Bokhari, “China and Pakistan: An alliance is built.”

[7] Farhan Bokhari and James Lamont, “Islamabad splurges on defence hardware,” Financial Times, May 22, 2011 at   Indian sources are cited as describing the submarines as “Qing” class diesel-electrics, “a variant of the Type 041A Improved Yuan-class SSK.”  That report appears at “Submarine Sails, China-Pakistan all-weather friendship scales new heights,” Force Magazine, July 2011, at

[8] For a current review of this relationship see James Lamont and Farhan Bokhari, “China and Pakistan: An alliance is built,” Financial Times, June 30, 2011, at; and Griff Witte, “Pakistan courts China as relations with U.S. grow strained,” The Washington Post, June 22, 2011, at

[9] William Burr, “Declassified Documents Show That, For Over Fifteen Years, Beijing Rebuffed U.S. Queries on Chinese Aid to Pakistani Nuclear Program,” National Security Archive, March 5, 2004, at

[10] A discussion of the strategic dimensions of the Treaty is found at D.S. Rajan, China: Revisiting the 2005 Friendship Treaty with Pakistan, South Asia Analysis Group, October 12, 2006, at  While the Treaty’s language seems tilted more towards and explicit commitment by  Pakistan to control Islamic elements that may support Xinjiang separatists in China (“each Contracting Party shall prohibit, on its own soil, the establishment of organizations or institutions which infringe upon the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of the other Contracting Party”), the Treaty does require that  “the Contracting Parties shall enhance and consolidate trust and cooperation in the military and security fields to strengthen their security.”  See the Chinese explanation of the Treaty at

[11] See telegram 04 ISLAMABAD 9705 from the American Embassy in Islamabad, “Subject: Pak-Sino Relations: ‘Higher than the Himalayas, Deeper than the Sea,” a copy of which is available at

[12] (No author cited), "PRC Ambassador to India claims 'whole of Arunachal Pradesh is Chinese Territory'," CNN-IBN News India, November 13, 2006, at

[13] In addition, China was concerned by private financial support given by Pakistani citizens to Muslim separatists in China’s far western Xinjiang autonomous region, but that concern seems to have dissipated by the mid 1990s.

[14] In its introduction to FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES, 1969–1976, VOLUME E–13, DOCUMENTS ON CHINA, 1969–1972,The U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian underscores “Pakistan's role in Sino-American rapprochement could not be divorced from its conflict with India. The stability of Pakistan was a key area of cooperation between the United States and the PRC after mid-1971 prompting a remarkable measure of diplomatic coordination. In Kissinger's meetings with PRC diplomats in New York during November and December 1971, both sides exchanged positions and messages concerning the UN and the antagonists on the subcontinent, India and Pakistan. (173, 175, 176) South Asia was also one of the important substantive issues discussed by Kissinger's deputy, Alexander M. Haig, during his January 1972 trip to Beijing. (183, 184).” A version is located at

[15] The Watergate Tapes, December 6, 1971, available at the Nixon Library, Yorba Linda, California.

[16] Robin Wright, “ U.S. to Sanction Chinese Firm Asia: Washington says the arms maker has sold parts to Pakistan in violation of an accord reached with Beijing,” Los Angeles Times, September 1, 2011, page  A-01

[17] Muhammad Saleh Zafir, “Pakistan, China Agree to Enhance Defense Cooperation,” Rawalpindi Jang, September 7, 2001, cited in Srikanth Kondapalli, “The Chinese Military Eyes South Asia,” Chapter 9 in Scobell, eds, Shaping China’s Security Environment; The Role of the People’s Liberation Army, Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, October 2006.

[18] Willy Wo-Lap Lam, “The Terror Attack and China’s Deeper Concerns,” China Brief Volume 1, Issue 6 of September 27, 2001, at

[19] See, for example a toughly-worded article in the PRC-owned Ta Kung Pao newspaper shortly after the visit which warns Pakistan that Washington is cooperating with New Delhi to encircle Pakistan. Ba Ren, “The United States Meddles With Afghanistan To Kill Three Birds With One Stone—On The White House’s Military Deployment and Variable of Central Asian Strategic Patterns,” Hong Kong Ta Kung Pao, September 24, 2001 (translated by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service at FBIS-CHI-2001-0924).

[20] “More on China FM Spokesman Comments on Border Security, Terrorism,” Agence France Presse, Beijing, September 25, 2001; transcribed by Foreign Broadcast Information Service Document Number: FBIS-NES-2001-0925.

[21] “China Stresses ties with Pakistan in war on terror,” Reuters, October 1, 2001.

[22] See “Fu Quanyou Yu Ba Canlianhui Zhuxi Huitan” (Fu Quanyou meets Pakistan Chairman of Joint Command), Jiefang Jun Bao (Liberation Army Daily), January 16, 2002, at

[23] “Strain in U.S. China ties,” The Nation, March 20, 2002, transcribed in FBIS-CHI-2002-0320.

[24] See also Carey Sublette, “Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons Program Development,” The Nuclear Weapon Archive, January 2, 2002, at

[25] In a “Back of the Book”(BoB) intelligence analysis dated June 23, 1983, to Secretary of State George Shultz, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research notes: “We have concluded that China has provided assistance to Pakistan’s program to develop a nuclear weapons capability.  Over the past several years, China and Pakistan have maintained contacts in the nuclear field.  For some time, China’s involvement was limited to operational aspects of the KANUPP power reactor in Karachi.  We now believe cooperation had taken place I the area of fissile material production and possibly also nuclear device design.”  A heavily redacted version of this report is available at  Sublette (above) notes that in return for this support, A.Q. Khan provided China with the details of the Dutch URENCO uranium gas centrifuge design and manufacture.

[26] U.S. Embassy Beijing telegram 92 BEIJING 37734 dated November 25, 1992, declassified August 27, 2003.

[27] William Burr, “China’s role as a leading provider of sensitive technology to Pakistan has repeatedly strained U.S.-China relations.”  See a review of declassified U.S. intelligence and diplomatic documents at Joyce Battle, “India and Pakistan -- On the Nuclear Threshold”, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 6, (no date), at

[28] Private conversation in June 2008 with a U.S. intelligence official.  That China was still exporting M-ll ballistic missiles and samarium-cobalt rare earth  ring-magnets for use in frictionless centrifuge bearings in uranium isotope separation to Pakistan as late as early 1996 was a constant irritant to the Clinton Administration.  See Bill Gertz, "China Nuclear Transfer Exposed, The Washington Times, February 5, 1996, p. A-01.  For a vague description of National Security Advisor Anthony Lake's talks with Chinese counterparts in Beijing on June 8, 1996, see Robert L. Suettinger, Beyond Tiananmen, The Politics of US-China Relations 1989-2000, The Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., 2003, p. 277.

[29] Glenn Kessler, "Bhutto Dealt Nuclear Secrets to N. Korea, Book Says," The Washington Post, June 1, 2008; A16,

[30] Xinhua noted of the Bhutto-Li Peng consultations, that “Before the formal talks, both prime ministers had a private meeting which lasted half an hour. They discussed in detail the international situation, regional affairs including Kashmir, and bilateral relations. There was a total identity of views on various issues and they agreed to further promote the existing good bilateral relations.” (emphasis added.) “Pakistani Prime Minister Bhutto Continues Visit; Li Peng Remarks on Kashmir Noted” Islamabad Radio Pakistan Network December 28. 1993, at FBIS-CHI-247.

[31] “Further on Visit by Pakistan Prime Minister,” Islamabad PTV Television Network in English, December 30, 1993, transcribed at FBIS-EAS-93-249.

[32] (emphasis added) “Pakistani Prime Minister Bhutto Continues Visit; Spokesman on Li Peng-Bhutto Talks,” Xinhua in English December 28, 1993, at FBIS-CHI-247.

[33] See "'Text' of Bhutto Banquet Speech," Pyongyang Korean Central Broadcasting Network in Korean, December 30, 1993, transcribed by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Daily Report at FBIS-EAS-93-249.  In a perhaps telling moment, the North Korean media noted that Kim Il Sung and Bhutto exchanged gifts, and uniquely noted that each "saw the [other's] gift and expressed thanks for it." See "Kim Il-song, Bhutto Exchange Gifts", FBIS Daily Report, December 30, 1993, at FBIS-EAS-93-249. I can find no other instance of an exchange of gifts with Kim Il Sung where Kim is ever described as “expressing thanks.”

[34] William J. Broad and David E. Sanger, "As Nuclear Secrets Emerge in Khan Inquiry, More Are Suspected," The New York Times, December 26, 2004, at

[35] William J. Broad and David E. Sanger, “Warhead Blueprints Link Libya Project To Pakistan Figure,” The New York Times, February 4, 2004, p. 1.

[36] Kessler

[37] David E. Sanger, “In North Korea and Pakistan, Deep Roots of Nuclear Barter,” The New York Times, November 24, 2002, p. A-01. Danny Gittings, “Battling the Bribers,” Asian Wall Street Journal, October 29, 2002, p. 18. William C. Triplett II, “Road to Pyongyang through Beijing?” The Washington Times, February 21, 2003, p. A18. On September 11, 2003, Senator Feingold asked Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly “about North Korean planes flying through Chinese airspace or even making refueling stops in China when these planes may well be involved in proliferation activities. . . . have we raised this issue with the Chinese?” Kelly responded “Yes, sir, we have raised that issue with the Chinese. It would probably be best to brief you more completely on that particular topic in a closed hearing, sir.” See U.S. Senate Committee On Foreign Relations “Hearing On U.S.-China Relations, September 11, 2003.”

[38] Paul Watson and Mubashir Zaidi, “Death of N. Korean Woman Offers Clues to Pakistani Nuclear Deals,” The Los Angeles Times, March 1, 2004.

[39] Bill Gertz, "N. Korea seeks aid from China on nukes", The Washington Times, December 9, 2002, page A-01 at

[40] Private conversations with a Bush Administration official.  In May 2004, Assistant Secretary of State John Wolf told a congressional committee that the U.S. still supported China’s membership in the NSG.  He explained, “Let me be clear on the April cases. And when you talk about, I mean, the Iran Non-Proliferation Act covers all of the export control regimes, not just the Nuclear Suppliers Group list. And most of the sanctions that were imposed on Chinese entities related to things that were non-nuclear (emphasis added).”  He then noted, “We haven't seen the kinds of activity that worried us several years ago. That doesn't mean that it's not taking place. It's only that we haven't seen it.”  See “U.S. Representative Henry J. Hyde (R-Il) Holds Hearing On China And The Nuclear Suppliers Group - Committee Hearing,” May 18, 2004, transcript by Federal Document Clearing House.

[41] See “Remarks at Conference on China-U.S. Relations,” Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, November 5, 2003, at .  A Rand Corporation researcher sees the Chinese action as a sign of cooperation (Evan S. Medeiros, Chasing the Dragon - Assessing China’s System of Export Controls for WMD-Goods and Technologies, The Rand Corporation, Santa Monica, 2005, p. 90, at  However, when confronted with a simple question, "Intelligence reports aside, are you satisfied that China is not assisting North Korea's nuclear weapons programs," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told a press briefing on December 17, 2002, that he could not make a judgment on whether China is helping North Korea's nuclear program "without having to base it on intelligence sources," which he could not do.

[42] See testimony of Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance, Paula A. DeSutter in Hearings conducted by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission entitled “China’s Proliferation Practices and the North Korean Nuclear Crisis” on July 24, 2003, pp. 7-31 at This comment appears on p. 26.

[43] (No author cited), "North Korea Exported Scud Missiles to Pakistan in March: Japanese Report," Agence France-Presse, April 2, 2003.  AFP cited Japan’s Sankei Shimbun newspaper as the source of its report.

[44] Kautilya, Arthasastra, translated by R. Shamasastry, Third Edition, Weslyan Mission Press 1929 Mysore, p. 296.

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