For some analysts, the killing of Osama bin Laden could be used as a pretext by Pakistan and China to start a new war against the U.S., which they accuse of having violated Pakistan's sovereignty. China would apparently like to gain global economical, political and military prevalence over the U.S.; whereas Pakistan would like to ally with China to free itself from its economic dependence on the U.S., and find backing for its rise as a regional power vis-à-vis India, its historical enemy.
"Any attack on Pakistan would be construed as an attack on China," Beijing recently warned the US. After the Abbottabad operation, in which Osama bin Laden was killed, Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani's visited China from May 17 – 21, 2011. His trip was hailed by the Pakistani press as a new historic landmark in bilateral relations, and interpreted as a sign of the progressive breakaway between Pakistan and U.S.
The Pakistani government resented the U.S. raid in Abbottabad, and turned immediately to Beijing to seek shelter under the wings of the communist regime. Now China threatens the U.S. should a similar event occur in Pakistan again. The threat is backed by China's nuclear capabilities, which include intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that can target both Europe and United States.
During PM Gilani's visit, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said that Beijing would send a special envoy to Islamabad to express solidarity with Pakistan in this period of shaky relations with U.S.. The Pakistani daily The Nation wrote that "the new chapter is being added to further cement the existing excellent ties [between China and Pakistan], the focus of which would be to ensure mutual defense against all forms of foreign aggression." The paper further explains that PM Gilani would "apprise Beijing's top leadership of his country's experience and lessons learned from America's deep penetration inside Pakistani territory to kill Osama bin Laden," adding that "the military top brass and defense think tanks of both countries have been in close contact since the incident of May 2 [the day of the Abbottabad operation], and have been working out a joint defense mechanism."
China Enhances Pakistan's Air Force
To a question about Pakistani-U.S. relations after the Abbottabad operation, PM Gilani said that Pakistan will partly revisit its relations with the United States regarding cooperation in counter-terrorism. His words were echoed also by Pakistani Minister of Information Firdous Ashiq Awan, who said on Pakistan TV that the unilateral operation by the United States in Abbottabad has made the nation united [against the U.S.]. He added that concerning relations with the U.S., there is a need to move forward, keeping in mind Pakistan's national interests.
Sources disclosed that during PM Gilani's visit, China, one of Pakistan's largest aircraft providers, agreed to provide Pakistan with 50 new JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighter planes for its air force. China and Pakistan will also discuss the supply of J-20 Stealth and Xiaolong/FC-1 multi-purpose light fighter aircraft to Pakistan. The PAF has a fleet of Chinese aircraft, including F-7PGs and A-5s. The JF-17 "Thunder" program dates back to 1999, and is aimed at reducing Pakistan's dependence on Western companies for advanced fighters. China has, as well, offered Islamabad "anything" it needs to make defense "impregnable." Commentator Rashid Ahmad Khan wrote on the website China.org.cn. that China "never treated Pakistan as its junior partner," but always on equal terms, and mentioned that "China replaced the United States as Pakistan's principal source for arms and weapons when Washington imposed military sanctions on Pakistan in 1965 and 1990."
A New War Ahead
Henry Kissinger's latest book, On China, reveals Beijing's hegemonic plans. As he puts it, the rise of China could "make international relations bipolar again." Newsweek magazine reports on Chinese national writers like Liu Mingfu, author of China Dreams, who is urging China to switch from "peaceful development" to "military rise," and looking forward to the "duel of the century" with the U.S.
Just as the assassination of Archduke Franc Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914 was used as the casus belli to formally start World War I, analysts are concerned that China might use the Abbottabad operation against Osama bin Laden as the casus belli to start a new cold war with the U.S. -- or even a hot one.