Chinese concerns.

WE can say that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has returned home empty-handed from his first official visit to Beijing that was aimed at renewing Islamabad's push for the revival of Chinese investments under the multibillion-dollar CPEC initiative and seeking the rollover of the large bilateral debt to avert potential sovereign default. Or, we may argue that he has come back with a commitment from China's top leadership to 'inject new impetus into the all-weather cooperative partnership' to help Pakistan's sustainable economic and strategic projects, a pledge of an additional RMB500m for flood relief, and a memorandum of cooperation on yuan clearing in Pakistan that could provide an alternative payment option for cross-border transactions among Chinese and Pakistani enterprises and financial institutions, and possibly help us buy discounted Russian oil. Pakistan's ambassador to Beijing suggested in a tweet that the 'joint statement was strong and loaded' and that we should read 'between the lines' as 'important understandings are always arrived at beyond the [eyes] of media'. One interpretation of this may be that even though China will not leave us in the lurch due to its strategic and long-term perspective of the relationship with Islamabad, owing to a changing global and regional political and security environment, there could be hiccups. The two sticking points -...

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