Islamabad: The Chinese are not offering Pakistan any free lunches, says a Pakistani daily while stressing that the country has to pay for what it gets, "whether it is fighter jets or nuclear power plants".
The editorial appeared on Friday in The News International when Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was on a trip to China.
It said: "The signals coming out of both Beijing and Islamabad indicate a shift in the relationship between Pakistan and China...It is almost the diametric opposite of that which we have with our principal financial benefactors - the Americans. The Chinese are never going to throw cash at us in the way the Americans do."
Islamabad and Beijing "want to engage in a relationship that has trade and mutual interest as the engine that drives profit and development..."
The editorial added that besides trade "there is a strategic element to our partnership, and the importance of Beijing`s statement that `an attack on Pakistan is an attack on China` will not be lost on the planners in the White House and the Pentagon".
The Abbottabad incident - in which al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was gunned down May 02 by US commandos - "has almost certainly accelerated a process that was already in train".
There is a two-way trade which in 2010 was worth USD 8.7 billion, an increase of 27.7 percent over 2009.
"The Chinese are not offering a free lunch; we have to pay for what we get from them whether it is fighter jets or nuclear power plants. They are looking to get the best deal for themselves as well as advance their own position as a regional power.”
"In its transactional relationship with America, Pakistan does not have many choices, but with China it has a range of choices, as do the Chinese with it. And Pakistan is right to push forwards with broadening a relationship which in the long-term will be of greater benefit."