Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan concludes his three-day visit to China today.
During the visit, Khan attended the opening ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. The meeting focused on Pakistan’s economy.
Pakistan is currently facing severe economic difficulties due to high inflation. To ease the pain, Khan requested a $10 billion loan from China and pushed for increased trade and cooperation along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The Corridor, an infrastructure project to promote trade and development, has so far performed below expectations and its development has slowed.
Expect China to offer loans to Pakistan. However, these loans are unlikely to help, as they will only add to Pakistan’s growing debt obligations. Beyond loans, China will likely promote business development and investment in Pakistan’s Special Economic Zones. Short to medium-term, this move would likely benefit both nations by increasing Chinese trade and Pakistani manufacturing and regional infrastructure. However, it will do little to solve Pakistan’s long-term economic problems. Instead, closer economic ties and increased debt with China will most likely further weaken Pakistan as it inflames public discontent and violence and fails to deliver promised benefits.
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Wescott is a Copy-Editor and Senior Analyst. His thematic focuses are international security, politics, economics and public policy.