In a webinar of the China Development Forum, organized by China’s State Council in Beijing, Dr Henry Kissinger appreciated Pakistan’s key role in arranging a secret visit to China in 1971. The high-level webinar celebrated the 50 years of China-US relations and was attended by Pakistan’s Senator, Mushahid Hussain.
Dr Henry Kissinger, who is the former US Secretary of State, recounted how the then President General Yahya Khan secretly communicated with both Chinese premier Zhou Enlai and the then US president Richard Nixon and enabled Dr Henry’s path-breaking journey in a PIA plane from Islamabad to Beijing on July 9, 1971.
Speaking next after Dr Kissinger, Senator Mushahid Hussain, representing Pakistan, said that this historic breakthrough in China-US relations became possible due to the ‘indispensable role of Pakistan which enjoyed the trust of both China and the United States, whose then President, Richard Nixon, had tremendous affection and goodwill for Pakistan’.
Addressing China Development Forum 2021, an annual event hosted in Bejing, on Pakistani role in China-US relations, facilitation of Dr Kissinger’s secret visit to Beijing pic.twitter.com/VIirOYg9LH
— Mushahid Hussain Sayed (@Mushahid) March 21, 2021
Mushahid Hussain also said that Pakistan’s former president General Yahya Khan undertook this sensitive mission which was code-named “Marco-Polo” with ‘military precision, secrecy and deception’, with an official announcement of a decoy visit by Dr Kissinger to Nathiagali on the pretext that ‘the American official was resting due to an upset stomach’, while he had secretly flown to Beijing.
He further added that President Yahya relied only on a 2-man team of his top diplomats, Foreign Secretary Sultan Mohammed Khan and Pakistan Ambassador to the US, Agha Hilaly.
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An honour for Pakistan
Mushahid Hussain said that ‘it was an honour for Pakistan to play such an important role in the shaping of history, as Dr Kissinger’s visit to China led to a tectonic shift in the global balance of power in 1971’.
According to Mushahid Hussain, normalization of relations had been beneficial for not just China and the US but also for Asia and the world. China had assisted the US in the cold war whereas the US had enabled China to come out of isolation which revolutionized the country.
Mushahid Hussain concluded by stating that 50 years later, one lesson of China-US relations was that cooperation was good for both the countries and there was no room for outmoded policies like containment or a New Cold War.