It would’ve been Xi’s first to Pakistan since taking office last year. Sharif said that investment agreements worth $34 billion had been expected to be finalized during Xi’s stay in Pakistan.Xi is scheduled to visit India in late September, also his first there since taking office, amid what some analysts see as a subtle reordering of China’s foreign policy priorities away from Pakistan. The Asian giants have essentially shelved a border dispute that led to a 1962 war and are focused on boosting trade and investment between them.
It’s not worth reading too much into individual state visits. The regional order in Asia is still somewhat fluid, with the powers juking and shimmying around each other, vying for trade advantage while being mindful of the necessity of balancing against each others’ hegemonic ambitions.Still, both given how deeply felt the rivalry with India is for Pakistan and given how eager Islamabad is for investment, this turn of events has to sting more than a little.[Update: Our correspondent in Pakistan writes that the cancellation of the visit has taken the life out of the sit-ins in Islamabad, more so than any domestic pressure or productive negotiations. The protests are now seen as harming Pakistan’s larger economic and strategic interests. Also, a torrential rainfall seems to have brought a curtain down on the protests.]