Pakistan treads diplomatic tightrope between US and its adversaries

Pakistani letters cautioning policymakers not to irritate China over ties with United States were made public by US media

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Pakistan, and some other countries have been subtly severing ties with the US on important matters like Ukraine, according to classified documents recently disclosed by a US airman.

Two Pakistani letters cautioning policymakers not to irritate China to retain ties with the United States are among the documents, which were made public by The Washington Post and other US media.

Pakistan’s state minister for foreign affairs Hina Rabbani Khar claimed in one of the documents that Pakistan “no longer tries to maintain a middle ground between China and the United States.”

In March, the confidential memo was delivered to Pakistani officials.

The letter, titled “Pakistan’s Difficult Choices,” warns Islamabad to steer clear of appearing to placate the West. It issues a warning that Pakistan’s instinct to maintain its alliance with the United States would ultimately cost the nation the full advantages of its “real strategic” alliance with China.

The memo’s source is unknown, according to the US intelligence document that was leaked.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif discussed a pending UN vote on the Ukraine situation with a subordinate in a separate memo dated February 17. Additionally, it was expecting increased Western pressure to support the UN resolution denouncing the Russian invasion.

Every time a US-backed resolution on the Ukrainian war was brought up in the UN General Assembly, Pakistan was one of the 32 nations to abstain.

One of his assistants told PM Sharif in the memo that Pakistan’s backing for the bill would represent a change in stance from its earlier abstention on a related resolution.

The aide claimed that supporting the resolution could risk Pakistan’s capacity to negotiate economic and energy agreements with Russia.

The leaked documents, according to a Washington Post investigation, demonstrate how important emerging countries try to “avoid the escalating standoff between the United States, Russia, and China and, in some cases, exploit that rivalry for their own gain.”

The documents offered a unique look at how significant growing countries, such as India, Brazil, Pakistan, and Egypt, are juggling their ties with the US, Russia, and China.