China is sending 50 JF-17 fighter jets to Pakistan, after Pakistani prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani visited Beijing this week. The planes were jointly produced by the two countries, but the planes will be paid for by China. This comes at a rather uncomfortable time for U.S.-Pakistan relations; while the China deal isn’t financially significant, it does signal a turning away from the West and a move toward lessening Pakistan’s dependence on the U.S. Unlike its tumultuous relationship with the U.S.— especially in light of Pakistan’s role in killing Osama bin Laden — China is considered by Pakistan to be an “all weather friend.”
“I want to say at once that this would be a catastrophe for the region” that may stoke “a surge in violence and perhaps an increase in the number of refugees,” he said during his annual televised call-in show.