Security threats and rensponse in the china-pakistan economic corridor under BRI,
an analysis report from Dr. Zhou Zhanggui, OSS International Collaboration Center.
Since 2013, when Chinese leaders first proposed the strategic concept of building a "One Belt And One Road", they have received positive response and participation from countries along the routes. In March 2015, the national development and reform commission, the ministry of foreign affairs and the ministry of commerce jointly issued the vision and action for jointly building the silk road economic belt and the 21st century maritime silk road (hereinafter referred to as the vision and action), which became the guideline document and framework top-level design of "One Belt And One Road" strategy. At present, the first batch of projects in the strategic planning have been successively launched in the china-pakistan economic corridor, and energy projects have become an important focus of cooperation, bringing new opportunities for the development of Chinese energy enterprises. However, the future project construction and operation and maintenance will face various security threats for a long time. The security guarantee of the china-pakistan economic corridor construction will play an important role in supporting and demonstrating the entire One Belt And One Road strategic cooperation.
First, to re-understand the china-pakistan economic corridor
1. What is the china-pakistan economic corridor (CPEC)
According to the vision and the action plan, china-pakistan economic corridor starting point in kashgar,
end point in Pakistan melon, port, 3000 km, the "silk road economic belt" in the north, south even the
"maritime silk road" in the 21st century, is a key hub linking the north and south silk road, is a
including highway, railway, oil and gas trade corridors, and cable channels, is also an important part
of the "area". At present, the two governments have drawn up a preliminary plan for the construction of
roads, railways, oil and gas pipelines and optical cables covering the "four-in-one" channel from kashgar
city in xinjiang to gwadar port in southwest Pakistan. By some estimates, the china-pakistan economic
corridor will have a total investment of 54 billion us dollars, with most projects completed by 2030.
In terms of energy demand, the china-pakistan economic corridor opens a gateway from land to the Middle
East, connecting China, the Persian gulf and the Arabian sea as a hub and opening an inland energy
corridor around the strait of malacca.
2. Strategic significance of the china-pakistan economic corridor
Chinese foreign minister wang yi described the china-pakistan economic corridor as the "first movement" in the "One Belt And One Road" symphony. In China's neighborhood diplomacy and the strategic practice of "One Belt And One Road", the "china-pakistan economic corridor" has the following three meanings:
First, the "trial area" of One Belt And One Road strategic promotion. The cpec was first incorporated into the One Belt And One Road strategic plan, and was also the first to launch energy projects and gwadar port projects in Pakistan. It can be said that the china-pakistan economic corridor (cpec) is becoming a leading test area for the One Belt And One Road strategy and a milestone project for the implementation of the One Belt And One Road strategy.
The second is the "demonstration area" of One Belt And One Road's strategic effectiveness. The china-pakistan economic corridor (cpec), which covers key areas such as port construction, energy pipelines, transportation infrastructure and industrial cooperation, has a strong demonstration effect to some extent. Radiation to adjacent areas will have a significant impact on the large area of One Belt And One Road.
Third, the "innovation area" of One Belt And One Road strategic practice. Gwadar port in the south of Pakistan is a starting point for the construction of the china-pakistan economic corridor. It is a connecting area, intersection area and beneficial area for the two strategies of the "21st century maritime silk road" and the "silk road economic belt".
3. The focus of china-pakistan economic corridor construction
Economic cooperation between China and Pakistan is not a unilateral field of cooperation, but a comprehensive one. It involves building infrastructure, expanding connectivity, promoting economic restructuring through the transfer of technology export industries, and strengthening coordination of policies and mechanisms between countries through bilateral cooperation. Even from the perspective of energy cooperation alone, it also reflects the "big energy" cooperation at three levels:
The two heads of state unveiled the china-pakistan joint research center for small hydropower technology and other cooperation
First, it is reflected in the "big" cooperation in infrastructure construction. As stated in the vision and action document, "we will strengthen cooperation in energy infrastructure connectivity, jointly safeguard the safety of transportation channels such as oil and gas pipelines, promote cross-border power and transmission channels, and actively carry out cooperation in upgrading and upgrading regional power grids." The pipeline infrastructure construction covers oil, gas and electricity from primary to secondary energy sources.
Second, it is reflected in the "big" cooperation on energy. "We will expand mutual investment, increase cooperation in the exploration and development of traditional energy resources, actively promote cooperation in clean and renewable energy, such as hydropower, nuclear power, wind power and solar power, promote cooperation in local and nearby processing and transformation of energy resources, and form an integrated upstream and downstream industrial chain of energy and resources cooperation. We will strengthen cooperation in deep-processing technology, equipment and engineering services for energy and resources. This includes a "grand" partnership between conventional fossil fuels and a whole range of new renewable energy sources.
Third, it is reflected in the "big" cooperation of the platform mechanism. "We should strengthen cooperation in science and technology, jointly build joint laboratories (research centers), international technology transfer centers and maritime cooperation centers, promote exchanges among scientific and technological personnel, work together to tackle major scientific and technological challenges and jointly enhance our capacity for scientific and technological innovation," the document said. This includes multiple forms and mechanisms from the level of technical cooperation and exchanges, paving the way for technology export and transformation, talent cultivation and knowledge sharing.
1. India-pakistan sovereignty dispute in Kashmir
There are some differences in the concept of Kashmir between China, Pakistan and India. China's aksechin region is divided into xinjiang and Tibet autonomous regions. Pakistan and China both recognize it as Chinese territory. The karakoram corridor was returned to China by Pakistan in the 1960s, but India calls it "central Kashmir". Kashmir, in its narrow sense, lies between India, Pakistan, China and Afghanistan. Historically, ladakh has been part of Tibet, once a state dominated by British India, most of which is now controlled by India and Pakistan. India has long opposed the construction of the china-pakistan economic corridor, which would pass through the disputed territory of pakistan-controlled Kashmir. The Chinese foreign ministry has stated that the building of the china-pakistan economic corridor is not targeted at third parties and is conducive to promoting regional connectivity and regional peace, stability and development. China's position on the Kashmir issue of India's concern is consistent and clear. The Kashmir issue is a historical legacy between India and Pakistan and should be properly resolved by both sides through dialogue and consultation. The establishment of the china-pakistan economic corridor will not affect China's position on the Kashmir issue. Despite this diplomatic stance, the potential conflicts and sovereignty disputes between Pakistan and India in Kashmir in the future will lay a "hidden danger" for the development of the china-pakistan economic corridor, which is mainly dependent on Pakistan's military deployment and the ability to safeguard border armed forces.
2. Terrorist threats in the north-west frontier province
Since its inception, there has been a dispute between the "east line" and the "west line" in the china-pakistan economic corridor. The eastern route is mainly through Kashmir - punjab - baluchistan, while the western route is mainly through Kashmir - north-west frontier province - baluchistan. In fact, no matter the east-west line, the middle section of the corridor in punjab and the north-west frontier province is experiencing incentive interest game and debate, but it is not an either/or choice, both provinces will get relevant projects. At present, northwest frontier province has been officially renamed "khyber-pakhtunkhwa province". Northwest frontier province is the smallest province in Pakistan, with a population of 20 million. The name of the new province, pakhtunkhwa, means pashtunkhwa. With its border with Afghanistan, the province has long had a poor reputation in Pakistan, not only for being "extreme" and "backward", but also for hiding the taliban and al-qaida there. The cia's previous raid on al-qaida leader osama bin laden centered here. Although the province has always faced image problems, it is strategically important to see it as a triangular wedge between China, Afghanistan and India. The main security threat from terrorism in this area, along the roads, pipelines, cables will be in longer construction period and operating period formation pressure, security will depend on the multiple departments to assist more, involves the government and enterprises, the military and private security, Pakistan and China related institutions and personnel system coordination.
Punjab, as the richest man's land, may be an important target
The Pakistani government has decided to set up a china-pakistan economic corridor (cpec) construction steering committee chaired by prime minister nawaz sharif to better coordinate the building of the cpec. But there has been a row over routes. The "western route" hopes to "build roads and get rich", while the government hopes to promote the relatively safe "eastern route". The route, known as punjab, is home to "prime minister nawaz sharif" and is a barometer of political, economic and social change in Pakistan. There is a saying in Pakistan that "to win punjab is to win Pakistan". Winning over Pakistan economically won't win over the sharif family and punjab's manufacturing giants. To cooperate militarily with Pakistan, the army headquarters in rawalpindi cannot be circumvented. To work with Pakistan culturally, one has to find roots in punjab. It now accounts for more than 60% of Pakistan's GDP. As the land of the richest man, punjab enjoys a better security situation and guarantee capability than other provinces and regions of Pakistan. However, with the development and spread of the islamist extremist movement, punjab province, as an important base for Pakistan's military and security institutions, is likely to be targeted by extremists. At the same time, militants, including the taliban, are also likely to use the chaos to launch attacks.
4. Baluchistan's separatism would pose a threat to the construction of gwadar port
Today baluchistan has about 9 million people, more than 60 percent of whom live in baluchistan province in southwest Pakistan, 25 percent in baluchistan province in the southeast of the Iranian plateau, and more in southern Afghanistan. Baluchistan has been seeking independence due to ethnic and historical problems. Gwadar port, an important node of the china-pakistan economic corridor, is located in the province. Since the implementation of the corridor project, there has been a heated discussion in Pakistan, which is of particular concern to baluchistan separatists. Baluchistan's hardline political parties and armed groups oppose the china-pakistan economic corridor.
Pink is the baluchian ethnic group
Their reasoning: first, that the cpec may allow China to over-exploit and use the natural resources of baluchistan, and that as a local, Chinese investment should be discouraged. It is claimed that baluchistan's unique geographical location and rich natural resources have become the prey of China's commercial capital plunder. Baluchistan's republican President, brahamdag? "China's development and intervention in baluchistan province is unacceptable, and investment in Pakistan is an excuse for China to plunder baluchistan's natural resources," he made clear at the party's European division meeting in Geneva in June 2015. The leader of the baluchistan liberation front, Allah akbar, Pay him? Baluchistan has issued a stern warning to Chinese companies investing in the construction of the gwadar port. Second, the cpec is only in the interest of China and the Pakistani federal government, and the political, economic and social rights of baluchians will be infringed in the name of "regional development". For example, the china-pakistan economic corridor will attract people from punjab and sindh provinces to work, and the influx of people from outside the province will threaten the employment and life of baluchians.
To improve security for the economic corridor, Pakistan has set up a special security force to cooperate with the sword-wielding operation in north waziristan, which began in June 2014, and intensify the crackdown on extreme violence in baluchistan, which baluchistan sees as bad news. Notably, over the past few years, oil and gas, ports, transportation facilities and even Chinese engineers have been targeted by separatist armed groups in baluchistan. Since 2005, baluchistan separatists have staged a number of attacks against Chinese personnel, including car bomb attacks on a construction site in gwadar port, before and after a new round of armed conflict between baluchistan and the Pakistani federal government. As a result, armed groups such as the baluchistan people's liberation army, the united baluchistan army, the baluchistan republican army and the baluchistan liberation front are likely to launch attacks on the china-pakistan economic corridor or Chinese engineers in the future.
Iii. Security threats to the building of the china-pakistan economic corridor
The china-pakistan economic corridor will open a new chapter of cooperation and exchanges between the two countries. However, China and Pakistan differ greatly in culture, history, language, religious beliefs, traditional customs and habits, and there are many security challenges and threats that cannot be ignored.
1. Major security threats and types within Pakistan
Security challenges within Pakistan are generally at high risk. Pakistan's economy has long been weak, its democracy has not yet been perfected, its laws and order have yet to be strengthened, and its interior has been plagued by terrorism for years. There are also security threats from the "three forces" in xinjiang, where the east turkistan islamic movement (etim) forces have been hiding and operating in Pakistan's tribal areas. The recent fighting between Pakistani security forces and foreign fighters in the north waziristan region, including the east turkistan forces, has weakened the functioning of the east turkistan islamic movement. But fighting within Pakistan threatens projects along the economic corridor.
At present, there are mainly the following types of security threats in Pakistan: the first is the invasion, kidnapping or killing of Chinese embassy and enterprise personnel in Pakistan by local armed forces and taliban forces. A second type of security threat may come from opposition to most baluchistan development projects, including the baluchistan rebel group in gwadar port. The third category is armed crime in some areas, and mainly kidnapping and robbery against Chinese engineers and citizens. There have been several kidnappings and killings of Chinese working and living in Pakistan in recent years. There are high risks and security threats along the china-pakistan economic corridor, mainly in the form of prolonged violence, terrorist attacks and looting. In general, the author believes that the main security risks in Pakistan lie in the two core threats of terrorism and baluchistan separatism.
2. Security threats and challenges by forces outside Pakistan
Security has become a major challenge for the china-pakistan economic corridor. But insurgents, terrorists and criminal groups in Pakistan are not the only opponents of the corridor project. Pakistan is at the core of its strategy and has long had bad relations with neighboring Afghanistan and India. After September 11, 2001, U.S. military forces carried out key counter-terrorism operations in the region. The china-pakistan economic corridor has attracted international and regional attention. The us is rejoining the asia-pacific strategy with particular emphasis on military expansion in the region and containment of China's westward strategy. India, a us ally, has long coveted energy resources in central Asia and Afghanistan, where it has important competition with China. For India, the china-pakistan economic corridor means that China will bypass India and enter the Arabian sea directly. Through gwadar port, China will take full control of the strait of hormuz, causing a run on India's trade routes. Pakistan's intelligence services believe that the baluchistan riots and the taliban were backed by Indian intelligence to stop the construction of gwadar and intimidate foreign investors and developers. Over the past few years, relations have soured between Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan, where both governments have been plagued by the taliban in their own countries but have quietly supported taliban forces in the other. As the other end of the china-pakistan economic corridor enters the sea through gwadar port, there is still a lack of interest in maritime security despite the full attention paid to the land sector. Security at major ports and in Pakistan's territorial waters has yet to be strengthened and is still weak. Therefore, in recent years, China and Pakistan have conducted joint naval exercises in the area to enhance their deterrence and maritime security capabilities.
3. Security threat response measures for building the china-pakistan economic corridor
First, provide security against terrorist threats.
In light of the causes and new features of terrorism today, the extensive inter-regional cooperation between China and Pakistan and other relevant countries is a new way to combat the terrorist forces. Amid the raucous relations between India and the United States, Pakistani army chief of staff rahil sharif met with senior Chinese military officials in Beijing in 2015 and agreed to strengthen long-term bilateral defense cooperation, intelligence sharing and counterterrorism cooperation. China will support Pakistan's offensive against militants and jointly take actions against militants in border areas. China and Pakistan have stepped up security measures to prevent militants from fleeing China's xinjiang region into Pakistan. The Pakistani military has targeted militant bases in the tribal areas, including those from the etim. Pakistan plans to set up a special security force to provide security for the construction of the china-pakistan economic corridor, and the army will train more than 12,000 personnel to join. The recruitment of the special security forces will be conducted through the Pakistani police or border guards and the training will be completed to provide security for energy projects, mining areas, coal fields and gwadar port projects throughout Pakistan. Officials from Pakistan's national counterterrorism agency say about 8,000 security personnel have been deployed in about 210 projects across the country, providing security for more than 8,100 Chinese engineers.
Special security forces are set up to protect gwadar port
Second, provide security against the threat of ethnic separatism in baluchistan.
The influence of baluchistan separatist forces has been gradually extended to the United States, Europe, Australia, gulf states, etc. The internationalization of baluchistan issue will not only put pressure on the Pakistani federal government, but also complicate the construction of the china-pakistan economic corridor. Baluchistan separatists have repeatedly lobbied U.S. and European countries and United Nations agencies in Europe to follow the situation in baluchistan, including China's development activities in the region. Poverty is the root cause of conflict, and behind security challenges lies extreme poverty and unemployment in baluchistan. Compared with high unemployment, unhealthy and weak infrastructure, the cpec has many major projects, such as energy and resources, in its projects here. Therefore, the building of the china-pakistan economic corridor requires more systematic planning and design, careful consideration and adoption of regional economic integration models to mitigate security challenges.
First of all, in the process of cooperation, China and Pakistan should abandon the traditional top-level diplomatic approach of only engaging with the central government and properly maintain contact with all interested parties, especially opening up non-governmental channels of communication and interaction. China's investment in myanmar's myitsone hydropower project was put on hold by myanmar unilaterally, and its lack of contact with the kachin ethnic group and the civilian army at the site of the project put it in a passive position after the crisis.
Second, China and Pakistan need to have sound interaction in the cross-border flow of capital, technology, information, labor and other economic factors, and urge institutional arrangements and macroeconomic coordination within Pakistan. In the process of project promotion and implementation, both sides and relevant project enterprises need to actively clarify the significance of china-pakistan economic corridor construction with local stakeholders, make information disclosure and public participation well, and maximize the understanding and recognition of local people. In the construction of gwadar port and other key projects, the rights and interests of baluchians are fully taken into account, and the interests of the minority and the disadvantaged are respected and protected in china-pakistan economic cooperation, so as to promote the improvement of local people's livelihood.
Third, Pakistan needs to coordinate its security forces. Pakistan's maritime and border security forces have now deployed to defend the gwadar port and corridor routes. More than 3,500 police, 900 commandos, 4,100 private security guards and 740 militia will protect projects along the economic corridor. The special feature of this security plan is that the military will monitor the whole process, but the coordination of security forces and the sharing of information and intelligence needs to be further strengthened.
In a word, the construction of the china-pakistan economic corridor is of great strategic value to China. It can break the geographical limitation of the landlocked west through the corridor, enter the sea directly through gwadar port, expand into the Middle East and Africa, and open up a new strategic resource channel. However, various security threats both inside and outside China need to be faced and dealt with urgently. The security guarantee of the china-pakistan economic corridor will undergo a major test, and it is also an important test area and weathervane for One Belt And One Road strategic security maintenance.