China opens its largest overseas embassy in Pakistan

16 February 2015

China, continuing to use its traditional strategy of using Pakistan as a counter against India, said on Sunday that it has opened a new embassy in Pakistan, which is its "largest overseas" diplomatic mission.

China's foreign minister Wang Yi described the new embassy as a symbol of friendship between the "all-weather" allies.

"As China's largest overseas embassy, it is a symbol of friendship between China and Pakistan," state-run China Daily quoted Wang as saying. It, however, did not provide details about the new embassy or its personnel.

An opening ceremony was held on 13 February during Wang's visit to Islamabad. China maintains large diplomatic missions abroad, including in Washington, New York and New Delhi. Its mission in New Delhi has over 300 personnel, according to officials.

The opening of the new Islamabad embassy came as China and Pakistan deepen their relations with the construction of an economic corridor through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) that cost billions of dollars.

The Corridor, which is part of the Silk Road projects proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, aims to connect China's Xinjiang district with Pakistan's Gwadar Port in Balochistan province and neighbouring Iran.

China is also set to construct two 1,100 nuclear reactors in Pakistan at a cost of $6.5 billion, in addition to the four medium-sized reactors it has already built. The daily said Wang's two-day visit to Pakistan is seen as a preparation for the upcoming visit of Chinese President Xi.

Yi said President Xi will make a state visit to Pakistan at the earliest possible date this year. "This will be President Xi's first visit to Pakistan as head of state," Wang said. Xi was scheduled to go to Pakistan last September but the trip was postponed due to domestic situation in Pakistan.

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