Pakistan snubbed US democracy summit to please China

PESHAWAR – Pakistan gave the US-sponsored virtual “Summit for Democracy” a miss after remaining ambivalent for days about joining the event in official fear of annoying its all-weather strategic ally China and thereby potentially jeopardizing over US$60 billion worth of Chinese investment in the country.

Pakistan’s foreign office did not explicitly announce that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s elected government turned down the US invitation but media reports indicate that’s what happened, likely under Beijing’s pressure.

China reportedly contacted Pakistani authorities in the two weeks before the summit to lobby them against participating. Days after Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had a late-night telephone conversation with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Pakistan officially decided to skip the summit.

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