Pakistan Not Being Pressed To Choose Between US, China: State Dept

Pakistan Not Being Pressed To Choose Between US, China: State Dept
The State Department said on Wednesday that relations with Islamabad "build on our close people-to-people ties," and Pakistan is not being pressed to choose a position between the US and China.

During a press conference, a question concerning Hina Rabbani Khar's claim that Islamabad has no desire to start a war in the escalating international conflict between Washington and Beijing was put to State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller.

The spokesman said, "No, the US does not urge Pakistan or any other country to choose between the US and the PRC [People's Republic of China] or between the US and any other country.

According to Miller, the United States will continue to look for opportunities to deepen its cooperation and economic connections with Pakistan. Relations with Pakistan are founded on strong people-to-people ties, he added.

"Our economic cooperation with Pakistan reflects our vision for the region, which is one made up of autonomous, powerful, and affluent countries. And the foundation of our interactions is one of mutual respect and cooperation."

The spokesman also expressed views on the $3 billion bailout plan that was recently agreed between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The claims that the US was instrumental in aiding Pakistan in securing the contract were not refuted by the State Department representative.

"We support the Pakistani people in these trying times, is what I would say." He responded, promising to continue helping Islamabad: "We applaud the progress that has been made between the IMF and Pakistan in having reached a staff-level agreement.

"We remain committed to the nation's economic prosperity."

He said, "All of these are priorities for the bilateral relationship, and the US will continue to engage with Pakistan through technical engagements and continue to strengthen its trade and investment ties."

"We believe Pakistan has a lot of hard work ahead of it to be on a long-term sustainable path to economic recovery and prosperity, but we will continue to stand by them through that process," he added.