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After bin Laden: Could mistrust between US and Pakistan be opportunity for China?

Some influential Chinese analysts are suggesting that the mood of mistrust between the US and Pakistan might offer Beijing a chance to wean its oldest regional ally off its dependence on US security assistance.

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A photo of Osama bin Laden is published on the front page of a local newspaper with a map of Pakistan and Afghanistan in Beijing, China, May 3, a day after bin Laden was reported dead in Pakistan. China called the death of bin Laden a landmark event and said it was a step in the right direction for antiterrorism efforts, then praised Islamabad for its counterterror efforts.

Alexander F. Yuan/ AP

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If China shares the doubts currently being expressed in Washington about Pakistan’s commitment to the fight against international terrorism, it is not voicing them publicly.

Indeed, some influential Chinese analysts are suggesting that the mood of mistrust between the US and Pakistan might offer Beijing a chance to wean its oldest regional ally off its dependence on US security assistance.

“So long as Pakistan relies on the US for counter-terrorism support it will suffer more attacks, not less,” argues Yan Xuetong, head of the Institute for International Affairs Studies at Tsinghua University in Beijing. “Why are there so many terrorists in Pakistan? Because they’ve been relying on the wrong person [country].”

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