Identities in Sino-Pakistani ‘Iron Brotherhood’: Theoretical Implications beyond the Economic Corridor

Identities in Sino-Pakistani ‘Iron Brotherhood’: Theoretical Implications beyond the Economic... Abstract The Sino-Pakistani relationship illustrates a truly relational identity. It involves two relational selves constituting each other, and the formation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) independently constituting each of them. Both the study and the presentation of this relational identity are only possible under an epistemology of relationality, as opposed to the epistemology of the self-interested actor. The article enlists the anthropological notion of post-Chineseness, which typologises relationality in accordance with how Pakistan and China identify each other in their strategic choice of relationship. It finds that China has moved from its expectations of Pakistan as being an owner of physical Chineseness, through hybrid Chineseness, and ultimately progressing to moral Chineseness under the CPEC. By contrast, Pakistan’s self-positioning vis-à-vis China has shifted from the ownership of physical Chineseness, via experiential Chineseness, to moral Chineseness. Among them, experiential Chineseness is the most relevant element in explaining the changing bilateral relationships under the epistemology of relationality. It is the spontaneous rise of intimacy, or friendship, made possible by the long-term process of a collegial working relationship. Theoretical Significance of Sino-Pakistani Relationship The Sino-Pakistani relationship poses a challenge to international relations (IR) theory. In the twenty-first century, it is a relationship that appears to be socially spontaneous and morally binding, as well as mutually beneficial in political and economic terms. China describes Pakistan as an ‘iron brother’, a depiction which Pakistan both appreciates and reciprocates by frequently reiterating her own passionate narrative on their relationship as one that is ‘higher than mountains’. IR theories, premised upon the ontology of a self-interested state, are pale in front of such a relationship. It would not present a challenge, though, if one insisted that the two actors simply use each other exclusively and separately, each for their own interest. In such a statist mode of analysis, even philanthropic acts are self-interested, designed to make one feel good, or to be indefinitely profitable in the future. However, such a cynical view is problematic, practically as well as theoretically. Theoretically, the conscious endeavour to enhance the welfare of another actor cannot also be consciously self-interested.1 This would otherwise result in the unlikely state where one does not know one’s own preference. Practically, the actor consciously acts with self-restraint to care for the wishes of the other. In the case of Sino-Pakistani relations, a peculiar collective identity is even emerging with the formation of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which constitutes the self-awareness of both countries. Sociological theory of social capital may ostensibly offer a solution by arguing that self-restraint to cater to a longer turn relationship is ultimately rational, in that it keeps one from isolation in times of need.2 The social psychological literature on friendship could further confirm that belonging to a stable relationship soothes one’s anxiety towards uncertainty about the future.3 Such arguments reproduce self-centred kinds of relationality wherein relationships are calculative, not constituent. Nevertheless, one does not know what long-term benefits a relationship will accrue before they actually transpire or perhaps fail to occur at all. Accordingly, sociologists have to agree that relationality conditions rational society, at least epistemologically,4 if not ontologically. In this light, perceiving his or her world in relational terms is a social necessity for any reasonable actor at all times. Even the most adamant individualists have first to identify others from whose interference they intend to guard their calculus. Given that the state is relationally constituted irrespective of whichever ontology is truer—the self-interested state or the relational state—the change and continuity in its relationality calls for a processual analysis that obsoletes any fixed mode of interest. This article defines relationality as purposes and processes of relating that enable one to know one’s world and one’s own identity. Even self-consciously, self-interested states know their interests through relationships. Instead of sheer calculative relationships, therefore, relationality is the proper perspective to take on the evolution of the Sino-Pakistani friendship. Interests and policies are relevant only where they answer the relational propriety as conceived of by the two actors in context. The following discussion will trace the emergence of mutuality, togetherness, and a combined identity, from the earliest point of their unfamiliar encounter in 1947 to the CPEC project in 2013–2014, which goes beyond the paradigm of the self-interested state. Following this will be a theoretical discussion on the notions of friendship, relational IR, and bilateral identity, and an illustration of these concepts through the Sino-Pakistani relationship. The next step will enlist the anthropological notion of post-Chineseness to theorise on the evolutionary process of the mutual constitution of China and Pakistan, and suggest a comparative agenda for future research. Finally, the discussion will draw implications for and touch upon the ‘practice’ and the ‘relational’ turns in recent IR theorisation. Into the Iron Relationship of the CPEC The famous declaration by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, ‘If you love China, love Pakistan too’,5 is in no way a typical statement from a self-interested state to its ally, and hardly likely to have been expressed during the early years of the bilateral relationship. Although bilateral relations improved dramatically after the Sino-Indian border clashes in 1962, they were still a far cry from the brotherly relationship that emerged and became consolidated in the twenty-first century. Its evolution has been no secret, even though the policymaking and negotiation processes were not always accessible. Familiar topics between them include the factor of India, and related disputes over Kashmir, Xinjiang and Uyghur issues, anti-terrorism, joint projects of all sorts (e.g. the CPEC, nuclear power plants, and related lessons from China’s development model), and military cooperation. Strategic concerns were apparent in, although not exclusive to, the early days. For example, Islamabad recognised the People’s Republic of China (PRC) almost immediately after its establishment. This was in some way related to Islamabad’s war in Kashmir against India, New Delhi having already offered its own recognition of China. The Chinese side was nevertheless highly appreciative of such early recognition, along with the unique air link this provided when the newly established PRC was under siege. Beijing’s gratitude was clearly understood in Islamabad.6 Islamabad also facilitated normalisation between Beijing and Washington in the 1970s, implying transcendence over ideology. Beijing’s position on and jurisdiction over Kashmir was never overtly expressed to Pakistan, which stands in sharp contrast to how China later seriously poisoned its relationships with New Delhi. Right from the beginning, Sino-Pakistan and Sino-Indian relationships were on entirely different tracks; ironically, they moved in opposite directions. Although Nehru maintained a highly positive attitude towards China, even after the border clashes,7 the Sino-Indian relationship nevertheless rapidly deteriorated thereafter. Conversely, the initial, somewhat lukewarm Sino-Pakistani strategic relationship of the late 1950s warmed dramatically during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976). In 1963, the two sides (China and Pakistan) resolved their disagreement over the Kashmir border issue in a mutually self-restraining way, thereby forming a united front on India. In 1965, Beijing openly took sides in the Indian-Pakistani war. Although this was in line with Beijing’s own grievances towards New Delhi, Beijing has taken great care since 1965 to ensure that no trace of inconsistency between itself and Islamabad would be publicly noticeable. In other words, 1965 was not simply the reproduction of realist strategy; that year also symbolised a premise that loomed large only much later— that any collision with Islamabad’s thinking and calculation was to be maximally avoided. This premise was not unilateral. Islamabad, too, has kept in mind Beijing’s positions and interests elsewhere and carefully restrained any sign of incongruence. One veteran opines, ‘Pakistan must cultivate China irrespective of other pressures. It must not bow to any pressures from the USA.’8 Given that no point of negotiation specifically led to the exchange of favours on issues concerning each party (for example, Xinjiang for Kashmir, jet aircraft and tanks for an air-link, or a liaison in the Muslim World for a nuclear power plant), their care for each other’s concerns probably emerged either on their own initiative or upon the request from the other side for support, rather than from measured reciprocity. That Pakistan was one of the two countries to speak out against United Nations (UN) sanctions on China in 1989, in complete defiance of the position held by the United States, its ally, after the Tiananmen Square crackdown constituted an important mark of their friendship which China will always remember.9 In hindsight, until 1971, the relationship could already have constituted a binding identity in itself. Another indirect piece of evidence is that of Beijing discouraging Islamabad from having problems with New Delhi.10 This position removed India as an essential factor in the bilateral relationship, yet made no sense as regards the balance of power. Rather, it indicated Beijing’s assumption of a like-minded Islamabad. Other pieces of evidence testify even better to the emergence of a collective identity, or ‘greater self’ in Chinese cultural terminology. First of all, Beijing did not recognise Dhaka immediately after the war between Islamabad and New Delhi in 1971 resulted in the break-up of Pakistan. The latter supported the liberation of East Pakistan and its independence as the state of Bangladesh, whereas Beijing was sympathetic to the resistance of West Pakistan, its ally. However, many of the Pakistani diplomats that worked with their Chinese counterparts were Bengalis. Yet, although Beijing kept to the policy of refraining from intervention in the internal affairs of another country, these Bengali diplomats were nonetheless able to maintain an amicable network with Beijing.11 For many Bengali intellectuals, China represented the spirit of liberation, and its relations with East Pakistan were just as strong as those it maintained with West Pakistan.12 Despite all these generally positive feelings between them, however, Beijing opposed the entry of Bangladesh into the UN, and exercised its veto power in 1972. Beijing was willing to offer its recognition of independent Bangladesh only after Islamabad had done so in 1974. This event constitutes early evidence of a different relationship that gradually took shape between Beijing and Islamabad between 1965 and 1971. Another piece of evidence supporting the consolidation of a collective identity is Pakistan’s approach to Chinese Xinjiang Affairs. The Pakistanis sympathise with the Xinjiang Uyghurs, likely because of their shared religion. Pakistani specialists on Xinjiang have portrayed the Chinese Xinjiang affair in light of three contending considerations: (i) the problem is a religious one that cuts across the Muslim world; (ii) it primarily involves an internal ethnic affair between Han and Uyghur; and (iii) it manifests a Turkic nationalism that encompasses much of Central Asia.13 Nevertheless, scholars are generally unsupportive of extremists. They believe that Pakistan should play a role that is useful to China’s national integration. In short, the linkage between Xinjiang Uyghurs and the Muslim world elsewhere should contribute to the CPEC instead of being detrimental to it.14 Accordingly, Xinjiang is a principal component of the integration of China and Pakistan, and hence obscures the distinction set up by virtue of national borders, and between Han Chineseness and Islam in central Asia. A third piece of evidence of self-restraint or collective thinking is the use of concessionary loans in the operation of the CPEC. China’s loans typically carry low interest—definitively lower than those issued by the World Bank. Zero-interest loans are also not unfamiliar to Chinese foreign policy elsewhere, although less frequent as reform and openness substitute for the Chinese revolutionary and socialist world order. Nevertheless, for Pakistan, loan interest could stay low, to the extent of zero-interest in some cases, after lobbies from the Pakistanis. The list of early harvest items under the CPEC includes those of immediate concern for Pakistan, especially in its cotton industry, namely, the supply of electricity. Investments in transportation, which constitute the major component of Chinese billion-dollar investments in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also include investments in energy to meet Pakistan’s development needs. In other words, rather than aiming primarily at the exploitation of resources in light of China’s own quest for multiple energy supply routes, Chinese investments proceed from mutual consultation. Elsewhere, the China–Brazil relationship is said likewise to illustrate a mutual relationship that avoids any exploitative implications.15 Finally, no other nation in human history has ever invested as much in another as China has, as part of the CPEC, in Pakistan. To some extent, this prefigures transcendence not only of any sovereign estrangement that may linger between China and Pakistan, but also that may between traditional rivals, primarily Pakistan and India, as well as China and India. In itself, the CPEC is a base of identity and calculation, but it has no clear boundary in the traditional territorial sense. Its scope may extend continuously, and its benefits reach far beyond both Pakistan and China, in the narrowest sense of sovereignty. The evolution of relationality (made possible by the emergence of the CPEC identity) engenders multiple relationships through which to counter the self/other frame that has plagued the regional relationality. The CPEC that constitutes the Sino-Pakistani relationship testifies against the possibility of purely unrelated national actors, and in favour of the ubiquitous, although under-theorised, quest for sensible relationships. Common relationality reflected in the self-restraint of both parties ascends to a higher level wherever affirmative action, often unilateral, to support the other side in its times of need becomes intuitive. One such memorable action that Pakistan took after the Wenchuan earthquake of 2008 was to send all available tents in its strategic reserve, over 30 000 in total, to the earthquake epicentre. The Chinese embassy in Islamabad was deluged via the Internet with expressions of the Chinese government and people’s immense appreciation, and how they felt ‘overwhelmed by the generous assistance of Pakistan’.16 An affirmative action, therefore, is qualitatively stronger than self-restraint as an indicator of relationship. This is similar to intervention by liberal countries in a so-called failing state in order to expand, improve, and enhance a global governance regime, and hence reflects a level of commitment stronger than merely abiding by the rules. The peak of the dyadic relationship that clinched the unitary, or collective, identity of the CPEC suggests that earlier strategic considerations were conducive, rather than obstructive, to relational development. If one assumes that they had walked on two separate tracks of interest calculus, composed of materialist security and economic concerns, then the trust and liking that ensued from years of working together would not have affected their respective calculation. However, the reality has proved otherwise. Since the signing of the Free Trade Agreement in 2003, the significance of economic mingling has rapidly substituted that of the security partnership. With both sides now identifying with the CPEC as a development actor for the entire region, and even far beyond,17 the epistemology of the self-interested state fails significantly. The metaphor of friendship is particularly relevant here.18 People do not usually become friends on their first meeting. Friendship arises out of contacts that breed trust and liking.19 In short, being relational actors, states are generally ready for relationships despite not knowing initially what shape they might take. Interaction is conducive to friendship, even if it is not consciously mutual at first. One metaphor Beijing recently raised is that of the historical voyages led by Ming Dynasty explorer Zheng He, who encountered and defeated, but never conquered, forces of resistance throughout today’s South and Southeast Asia.20 Whatever motivated his mission, the explorer’s practices were to explore plausible relationships through abidance of local customs. Zheng He left a Muslim legacy that grew into the convincing population now residing in Southeast Asia. Together, the metaphor and the practice suggest that the self-interested state is merely the choice of a particular kind of relationship. In the words of Ali Shah: Regional commons derive strength from the eastern traditions of sharing and selfless service that culminate in horizontal distribution of benefits and discrimination in favour of the other rather than self. This prioritization of others over the self is the ballast of self-satisfied and symmetrical development, which in time leads to the comprehensive appreciation of varying needs of different cultures and peoples passing through different stages of development.21 Relational IR, Chinese Friendship, and the Bilateral Identity The relational turn, which criticises realism and liberalism for overlooking relations between states, offers a perspective that may help with the explanation of intimate relationships between states in general, and between China and Pakistan in particular. However, I will argue that the relational literature is insufficient due to its obsession with the prior ontological processes of the system which constitutes states. According to the relational agenda, relations at the systemic level come before states.22 States emerged and evolved in shared prior philosophical, linguistic, and historical trajectories to make their interactions practically meaningful to each other and conducive to their identities.23 Relational IR attends particularly to the self-restraint of states to abide willingly by shared rules.24 This explains the intimate relationships between Western European states and their common support for the liberal hegemony led by the United States, often at the expense of their immediate national interests, and support of constituency or discretional power. In this article, self-restraint refers to prioritising of perceived common interests in general, and the interests of others in context over one’s own interests. For nation states that do not share any significant prior relationality, their relationships, which do not inspire self-restraint, would appear unlikely, dispensable, and unnecessary, if not counterintuitive. China and Pakistan are seemingly such states. No such tradition of shared rules indeed existed between China and Pakistan. One particular string of the relational literature stresses the point of entry into international society,25 which may connect China and Pakistan, although only in the sense that both joined international society after WWII, and moved directly on to the Cold War. Such a shared point of entry, which is defined by Euro-American rules, anti-colonial politics, as well as the quest for international recognition, could presumably overcome all the apparent odds standing in the way of friendship between the two actors. Consider network theory, which composes an important dimension of relational IR.26 In many parts of the world, the networks that the United States established with various postcolonial states during the Cold War provided indirect routes through which to connect with each other, e.g. Taiwan and Singapore, the Philippines and Japan, and Korea and South Vietnam. The same was true for the Socialist Bloc, on whose platform Mongolia could indirectly connect with East Europe, thanks to the former USSR, which built networks with both sides. Network theory would have actually downgraded the likelihood of a warm relationship between China and Pakistan, since they squarely belonged to rival blocs respectively led by the United States and the USSR. They were on different sides of the Cold War divide. The other shared prior relationality points to the legacies of pre-WWII colonialism and imperialism that constituted the two newly independent states. At a slightly more nuanced level, China was never colonised by the UK, which ruled Pakistan before its independence. No specific prior relationality could have brought China and Pakistan together. Nevertheless, there was an indirect clue. The British colonial legacies imbued in the division of Pakistan and India rendered China’s sharing of anti-imperialist and anti-colonial legacies an obsolete relationality with South Asia as a whole. Imagine if the two states had never been separated by Great Britain. Without China having to choose sides between the two post-colonial actors, Indian perspectives on China in the twenty-first century would probably have been completely different. Partially, therefore, shared prior experiences as actors dominated and suppressed by Western colonial powers first brought China and India emotionally, as well as intellectually together, yet later engendered strong relative deprivation of each towards the other due to the abortion of mutual sympathy which proceeded from the partition of India and Pakistan. In any case, relational IR remains acquiesced on the eventual achievement of mutuality between China and Pakistan. The only relevant relationality shared between the two states was probably the similar quest for recognition that was embarrassed by their unfamiliarity with the rules of international society. This is obviously a relatively passive relationality. The sympathy for Chinese socialism that widely existed among Pakistani as well as Bangladeshi intellectuals, albeit helpful for the forging of friendships, amounted to no more than one-sided romanticising, given the low level of interaction. In other words, the ontological bias of the relational turn could only disfavour the Sino-Pakistani relationship. There is, though, a practice turn within the relational IR that may remedy this ontological bias, according to which national actors practice self-restraint consciously and act upon daily habits subconsciously.27 In this light, actors collectively create a community of practices and individually adapt and improvise in their specific contexts. The challenge to the practice turn is that there were no prior relational norms and rules for the two actors to reproduce or change through practice.28 In short, the community of practice required some shared ontological process prior to friendship, which was not there for China and Pakistan, who engaged each other culturally only in a distant past. Juxtaposed with relational IR, a Chinese relational turn emerges strongly in IR as well as in social psychology.29 The Chinese literature does away with relationality embedded in a systemic ontology. Rather, it values practical relationships, to be formed in various ways whereby any dyad of actors could evade their differences in ontological self/other imagining and so keep their interaction harmonious. Despite the lack of prior relationality, the Chinese relational IR cherishes the skill of managing practical relationships. This immediately adds a bilateral dimension to the overly multilateral sensibilities assumed in the relational literature.30 In other words, practical relationships between dyadic actors are categorically distinctive and independent of the community of practice at the multilateral/systemic level. Whether or not China and Pakistan can develop a relationship away from an unfavourable relationality—e.g. the Cold War divide, the stereotyped religiosity of Islam as opposed to Confucianism and Marxism, dissimilar colonial pasts, and so on—is both a matter of skill and motivation. China’s habitual use of the term ‘friendly relationship’ to portray the country’s diplomatic partner reflects the attempt to perform bilateral, as opposed to systemic, relationality. That said, with regard to the practice point of view a question still remains—one friend is obviously different from another friend; however, a friend today is never the same friend before and after. The concept of friendship is in itself conceptually insufficient in explaining change and continuity. In fact, the reference to friendship in Chinese diplomacy does not tell one anything about this friend. According to Chinese cultural norms, friendship is one of the five basic Confucian dyadic roles that keep society integrated and harmonious. It is a dangerous role, though, because an overly developed friendship may easily break rules and norms associated with other, much more fundamental dyadic roles, including those of the prince–official, father–son, husband–wife, and older–younger brothers. Confucius specifically warned against developed friendship. Instead, he advocated gentlemen’s friendship, which can be long-lasting only if it is as tasteless as water. He could not simply forego the role of friend, apparently because the other four dyads could not cover a population large enough to make people feel obliged to the self-restraint essential for ensuring social harmony. The combination of the practice turn (i.e. change) and Chinese relational IR (i.e. bilateralism and non-ontology) points to the importance of tracking the coupling of actors in order to know how a specific style of friendship has evolved. This enables the conceptualisation of the practice of a relationship without having to begin with shared prior philosophical, linguistic, and historiographical traditions. Accordingly, the Sino-Pakistani friendship is in itself one of a kind. Consequently, each coupling of actors has its own bilateral identity constituted by prior practices between the two. These prior practices reveal the self/other imaginations each party brings to the making of friendly roles. This is different from the naive encounter between a man and an alien under the Wendtian circumstance, where relational lenses do not exist before the meeting.31 As such, intersubjective understandings become a critical focus of concern in this process, since there is no guarantee that both parties understand the processes and the roles in exactly the same way. There is only the inevitability that they continue to see each other through relational, albeit changing, lenses. One can conceive of a sense of being obliged to practice a set of intersubjective expectations as the formation of a ‘role identity’, which is about an inner drive to fulfil a relational self and impose on the other party the duty to reciprocate. Friendship is thus about an intersubjective dynamic of bilateral role identifications. It incurs the processes of prior other imagining, practices of self-restraint, changes in role identification, mutuality, and the bypassing of a systemic ontology. To clarify further, ontology refers to what constitutes agents. In the discussion in this article, ontology is both shared prior multilateral/systemic norms and dyadic roles, but it does not explain changes in friendship or role identity. In addition, epistemology refers to how agents know. This has to do with how agents acquire prior other imaginations of each other, how they generate expectations about the future, and how they evaluate. The notion of post-Chineseness or, for that matter, post-Pakistaniness, is the methodological answer that the rest of this article advocates for one to approach changes. Post-Chineseness against the Odds: Embedded Relationality Despite their seeming differences in religion, size, ideology, alliance, and level of development, as well as the contrast between a multi-party democracy and a one-party hierarchy, Pakistan and China have beaten all the odds against an intimate relationship, and mutually imagine an iron brotherhood that is ‘higher than mountains and deeper than oceans’. The challenge for IR theory is that this relationship evolved practically. In light of the fact that the IR tradition adopts the ontology of the self-interested state, for the self-interested state to become relational would be an ontological change.32 However, advocates of the statist ontology could still maintain that the self-interested state necessarily incorporates relationality for its own self-enhancement. Nevertheless, given that relationality is no more than calclus of self-enhancement, one must be able to appreciate and contribute to the benefit of the other to feel good about oneself. Hence, from the self-interested state perspective, even this process cannot be a change of ontology; it must involve at least a change in relationship. This is why a determined ontology of the self-interested state continues to require an epistemology of relationality. In actuality, relationality must take up most of an actor’s agenda.33 Before 1965, the two countries felt less mutuality, or togetherness. This was before they consciously considered each other’s perspectives, acted on behalf of each other, or even thought from the CPEC perspective as unitary actors. At that earlier point, depending on one’s ontological position, one could argue either way—either that they were epistemologically self-interested (i.e. thinking only about oneself) or that they were epistemologically relational (i.e. relating by thinking instrumentally about the other). Conceptualising both as two self-interested states or two related states in search of an improved relationship was irrelevant to one’s theoretical agenda. However, both the ontology and the epistemology of the self-interested state lose credibility after their bilateral relationship adopts much clearer mutuality. Together, the relational and the practice turns and Chinese IR have provided the alternative of the relational state as ontology.34 A growing literature insists, in one way or another, that states are mutually constituted,35 hence the relational state. However, the ontological debate is not easy to resolve. After all, we lack information. The Sino-Pakistani relationship offers an empirical case to move beyond this debate and rest upon relational epistemology, as opposed to ontology. That is, that relationship presents a case to trace the evolution of relationality in different relationships without a decision on ontology. Relational epistemology demands research agendas that investigate how actors become aware only through relations, regardless of ontology. Let the statist ontology continue to have the benefit of the doubt to argue that states can be self-interested throughout. Epistemologically, though, states are intellectually able, socially doomed, and psychologically pleased to acquire relationality for the sake of self-fulfilment. In short, relational epistemology, as social necessity, allows one to avoid the ontological unknown but to explain the rise and fall of the collective actor or ‘the greater self’ between various forms. Thus, the theoretical challenge is to gather different forms of relationships, observe the processes of adjustment, and explain the decisions to take or leave a relationship. Relationships are not conceived of as instruments to acquire interests, lest such calculative thinking should render togetherness in later years unintelligible. Rather, they are motivated by themselves to demand behavioural actualisation, while nevertheless including pursuits of interests. In the early days of the Sino-Pakistani relationship, a shared interest was to balance India. This bilateral relationship was geopolitically inspired in a coincided realist interest. Since 2013, the officially designated Iron Brotherhood implies significant waning of the Indian factor and obscuring of geopolitical boundaries. The jump from unspecified relationality (in which the two explored relational potentials from mutually estranged positions imposed by the Cold War) to transcendence of boundary in the CPEC covers the widest possible range of relationality. The changes in role identity result in the best test of IR theory. In the following discussion, I will use the anthropological notion of post-Chineseness to introduce and deduce forms of relationship. This exercise enables one to trace the choices and the shifts between forms of relationship in accordance with the resources and the processes to which China relates or is related. This exercise is about how to pull different strings of imagined Chineseness in order for China and different actors each to relate in their own ways. As the kind of Chineseness appropriated by each side adapts according to the choice of actors, a change in role identity takes place. The Rationale of a Post-Chineseness Agenda Reflections on post-Chineseness are indebted to Peter Katzenstein’s work on civilisational politics and Gungwu Wang’s writings on Chineseness, pertaining to sinicisation in particular. In his determined criticism of Francis Fukuyama’s (1998) theme of the end of history, and the late Samuel Huntington’s (1993) notion of the clash of civilisations,36 Katzenstein insists that no civilisational expansion can be unidirectional.37 Thus, he studies how interactions involving actors of Chinese identities have transpired to complicate both China as a category and Chinese civilisation as a bounded civilisation. China is under constant reconstruction even between Chinese actors—between the superior and the subordinate, the coast and the inland, any two neighbouring ethnic communities, or different sides of borders—which have to negotiate cultural meanings of anything imagined to be commonly theirs, as if they were engaging those without Chinese identities.38 Katzenstein virtually comes to the point where China exists only in practice, one which can neither conquer nor be conquered in actuality without manipulating symbols and discourses. This methodology renders irrelevant the Chinese threat, as well as the Chinese collapse. In fact, even speaking of China may become a dubious and suspicious act. Echoing Katzenstein’s deconstruction of expansionist and nationalist China, Wang’s lifelong struggle has been to demonstrate that Chinese Southeast Asians, or Chinese overseas, cannot constitute one category. Wang records the identity strategies of Chinese Southeast Asians that have produced vast differences among those called Chinese.39 These indigenous Chinese possess cultural lives and social identities which are unfamiliar to one another, if not in conflict with each other. Their responses to the rise of China have necessarily been varied. Some are capable of re-sinicisation in their own peculiar way.40 Others reconnect China and the communities to which they belong. As with Katzenstein, one significant political implication of Wang’s research is the impossibility of Chinese in Southeast Asia uniting to become a threat. Sino-Pakistani relations can easily appeal to either Katzenstein or Wang on issues involving Xinjiang Uyghurs, or the intertwined tracks of the BRI. The challenge that the two pioneering constructivists bring forth is that any reference to China can commit false authenticity to the extent that China ceases to be a legitimate category. Such has never been the case in the interaction between Islamabad and Beijing. In other words, despite its constructive nature as a category, China continues to give meanings discursively, practically, and emotionally. To cope with the dangerously simplistic and yet discursively fundamental category, post-Chineseness substitutes for China, as well as Chineseness, are included in the following discussion. Post-Chineseness connotes something from Chineseness, but the latter is too fluid, contextualized, and individualised to have a name. Post-Chineseness avoids the ontological debate on how to define China. Instead, post-Chineseness refuses imposition of any fixed meanings but allows actors to continue to use the name. As with Katzenstein, all actors (either inside or outside, and elitist as well as subaltern) are epistemologically equal in enlisting China as an identity resource. Both Pakistanis and Chinese inevitably define Chineseness, and Chineseness constitutes their self-understanding in one way or another. As with Wang, differences in Chineseness call for comparative studies of types of post-Chineseness and their behavioural implications. Formally, post-Chineseness refers to the processes incurred and the resources enlisted for one to relate to China, or for China to relate to one. In this definition, Chineseness involves practices in context that are contingent upon the purpose and the capability of the actors involved. Two dimensions ensue. One is the self/other dimension. This dimension is imaginative. The Sino-Pakistani relationships suggest that relationships, as they are imagined, can range from mutual estrangement (e.g. balance of power) to minglement (e.g. the CPEC). Another is the objective/subjective dimension. This dimension is likewise imaginative. Such dimension pertains to the imagined range of one’s identity from entirely objective determinants (e.g. the Cold War alliance) to entirely subjective assessments (e.g. brotherhood). A 2×3 typology can be drawn for each actor. Table 1 is for Pakistan, or anyone in an imagined position of facing China, to define the post-Chineseness of the PRC. Table 2 is for China, or anyone acting on behalf of his or her imagined China, to relate to Pakistan. Table 1. China as Object of an Incurred Relationship Pakistan–subject China–object Subject inside Subject in-between Subject outside Subjective China 2013– Objective China 1971–2013 1950–1971 Pakistan–subject China–object Subject inside Subject in-between Subject outside Subjective China 2013– Objective China 1971–2013 1950–1971 Source: Author Table 1. China as Object of an Incurred Relationship Pakistan–subject China–object Subject inside Subject in-between Subject outside Subjective China 2013– Objective China 1971–2013 1950–1971 Pakistan–subject China–object Subject inside Subject in-between Subject outside Subjective China 2013– Objective China 1971–2013 1950–1971 Source: Author Table 2. China as Subject of an Incurred Relationship Pakistan–object China–subject Object inside Object in-between Object outside Subjective China 2013– 1971–2013 Objective China 1962–1971 1950–1962 Pakistan–object China–subject Object inside Object in-between Object outside Subjective China 2013– 1971–2013 Objective China 1962–1971 1950–1962 Source: Author Table 2. China as Subject of an Incurred Relationship Pakistan–object China–subject Object inside Object in-between Object outside Subjective China 2013– 1971–2013 Objective China 1962–1971 1950–1962 Pakistan–object China–subject Object inside Object in-between Object outside Subjective China 2013– 1971–2013 Objective China 1962–1971 1950–1962 Source: Author Let us consider the actors facing China. The columns in Table 1 indicate whether their relationships with China are within the in- or out-group. Motivated by their own purposes, they strategically enlist resources to relate to China to enact their self-understood relationships. Self-perceived in-group relationships necessarily engender pressure to meet the expectations of those who interact on behalf of China as conceived. By contrast, the rows in Table 1 answer whether actors can imagine objectively what Chineseness stands for, or whether they have to consciously rely on the views of the Chinese. To trace the evolution of Pakistan’s post-Chinese identities, I propose that the right lower corner is initially more relevant. It was during that time that an out-group actor was looking at China from an external perspective, hence the illustration of the extreme form of objective Chineseness. Objective Chineseness can be alternatively called physical Chineseness, scientific Chineseness, or policy Chineseness, depending on the context. The left lower corner, which became relevant with the passage of time, reflects internalisation of Chinese concerns and familiarity with Chinese practices through living together long enough, from the Pakistani point of view. I call this experiential Chineseness, which was gradually bred from long-term cooperation in the military, economic, and international spheres. One easily observes experiential Chineseness among journalists, expatriates, or anthropologists who acquire knowledge of China by practicing or simulating the Chinese ways of life as they perceive it. Let us consider China relating to other actors. The columns in Table 2 indicate whether China conceives of other actors as in-group or out-group actors. Contrary to the aforementioned situation of other actors looking in, I propose that in-group relationships enable China to feel justified in expecting others’ conformity, whereas out-group relationships put China in the awkward position of being assessed. The rows in Table 2 answer whether, in China’s own understanding, the relationships depend on how China intends to, and performs its relational roles properly, or on what China represents objectively, regardless of how the Chinese think. In practice, the initial years of interaction produced less pressure on China to show its values as being superior rather than simply physically useful. As Pakistan attained a possible role of being an in-between actor in the middle column, to mediate for China on different issues, the pressure on China considerably increased because a third party (e.g. the United States) could beat China in terms of civilisational as well as strategic attraction. That’s why Pakistan’s siding with China in a US-backed UN resolution to sanction China in 1989 was so tremendously soothing to China, given that Cuba was the only other country to oppose the resolution. The left upper corner indicates moral Chineseness, where China regards Pakistan as an in-group member who abides by the same rules of conduct. In resonance with China’s expectation of compliance with China’s own civilisational criteria of brotherhood, Pakistan’s self-conceived internal role in Table 1 attaches great importance to relationships, ideas, and worldviews brought forth by China. Relationality Informed by Post-Chineseness Post-Chineseness indicates, on the one hand, elements about China that Pakistan perceives as strategically useful enough to establish a bilateral relationship, and on the other hand, elements about Pakistan that China perceives as proper to relate to. If Pakistan and China can find in each other identity resources in context to subscribe to (e.g. Xinjiang Muslims or the historical Silk Road), they belong to the same group. This type of Chineseness produces moral pressure for each to comply with mutual expectations. If they do not imagine belonging to the same group at all, the establishment of a relationship will rely on a show of goodwill. In the latter case, their respective understanding of Chineseness hardly overlaps. In this situation, relationality likewise relies on self-restraint. Self-restraint of an out-group actor suggests refraining from imposing one’s will. If no relationship can be formed, either because of an abortion of self-restraint or because of a mismatch between actions of self-restraint, the maintenance of relationality can lead to punishment, isolation, and self-transformation. These have not taken place in the cycles of the Sino-Pakistani relationship. One would need to look elsewhere for examples like these, such as to Vietnam, Korea, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Japan. Post-Chineseness involves two qualities—how much pressure to comply with the expectation of the other exists, and how much subjective assessment is required to determine the proper relationship. In the CPEC regime (which rests upon the same-group identity together with subjective choices of goals and values), two types of pressure are found. First is the pressure for each to comply with the other. However, the norms to comply have been predominantly policy norms instead of cultural norms because, culturally, the two have not been very knowledgeable about each other. These policy norms on the Chinese side have been about the one-China policy pertaining to Taiwan, Tibet, and the status of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. On the Pakistani side, these norms were Kashmir, nuclear development, and anti-terrorism. Second is the collective identity of the CPEC. This collective identity emerges in the regionalism of the CPEC that presumably supersedes nationalism. Historically, for Pakistan to relate to China, it was initially self-considered an out-group member without any significant subjective access to Chinese civilisation. Despite the fact that contemporary Pakistan once served as a part of the ancient Silk Road, this civilisational network hardly rings a bell in contemporary history. In Pakistan, access to Chinese mainstream culture and understanding of Chinese ideology are limited. China represented ‘a thing out there’, and Islamabad needed to decide for itself what China could mean to Pakistan. Islamabad began with goodwill in 1950 that, in return, successfully oriented Beijing’s subsequent approach to maintaining Islamabad’s goodwill. Initially, Beijing also treated Islamabad as ‘a thing out there’ to be related to in an unspecified relationship. The Bandung Conference was the first step towards a relationship away from physical traits, because both pledged to non-alignment embedded in a subjective choice rather than in sheer objective conditions. After the Sino-Indian border clashes, Beijing began to view Islamabad potentially as an in-between identity that could connect China to the Muslim world and possibly the United States. Beijing and Islamabad resolved the Kashmir border issues after the Sino-Indian border clashes. For Beijing, Pakistan was now a potential ally in the objective sense. Keeping Pakistan on China’s side became an important agenda. The year 1971 witnessed both the Indian-Pakistani war and Islamabad’s liaison for Sino-US normalisation. In the eyes of Beijing, Islamabad further acquired a bridge role, one that embraces a type of hybrid Chineseness because of its familiarity with Muslim affairs. To incur hybrid Chineseness implied Beijing’s self-imposed social pressure to care for the interests of Pakistan, because if Pakistan jettisoned the role the implication would be China’s losing out to the United States. This compelled China to maintain the relationship with special care of a level that reached far beyond the circumstance of the self-interested state. China’s competitor for a relationship with Pakistan was the United States, which meant that China had to treat Pakistan better than the United States did. The CPEC regime engenders newer norms. Both China and Pakistan are obliged towards enhancing the prosperity of the population under their regime which expands beyond their borders. It is a different type of post-Chineseness. Instead of China feeling the pressure to meet the expectations of Pakistan, with Pakistan becoming an in-group member, China became ready to impose its role expectation on Pakistan. In fact, the Iron Brotherhood in Chinese terminology carries cultural implications. According to Confucianism, brotherhood is weighted with obligations. I predict that the expectation for Islamabad to help with the integration of Xinjiang will gain strength in the years to come. Other obligations associated with the CPEC include transcendence over rivalry with India through the economic sharing of benefits, and the dissolution of terrorist organizations in due course. Islamabad already takes these goals seriously. However, in the eyes of Beijing they have now become obligations. In actuality, this infers the mutual obligation to make Islamabad and Beijing, now imagined as a single entity, more comfortable with Indian affairs. Consequently, when facing India, both confrontation and compromise can proceed from a position of strength. Formation of Experiential Chineseness For Islamabad, one particular type of post-Chineseness—experiential Chineseness—is critical to the evolution of the Sino-Pakistani relationship. This type of Chineseness is not easily expressible discursively, but comes to be known innately through long-standing experience of living together. Journalists and expatriates, diplomats, business people, and students, in addition to anthropologists, are among those often possessed of experiential Chineseness. It is something that engenders same-group consciousness, but does not rely on the subjective assessment of the targeted Chinese population to determine its existence. Upon understanding Chinese lives with sympathy due to living together for long enough, Islamabad may intuit how China feels and reacts. For Islamabad, whose leaders used to rely on physical Chineseness to explore a possible relationship, the move towards experiential Chineseness required a longer period of time. Experiential Chineseness explains how the Pakistanis, who have limited contact with the Chinese civilisation, could eventually cultivate in themselves a same-group consciousness. Chinese moral support during several military conflicts against India prepared Pakistanis for a collegial spirit. Moreover, China’s efforts to keep Pakistan on its side reinforce the bilateral relationship. Their all-round interactions, some of which admittedly carry a degree of strategic and national interest calculus, forge a deep working relationship. After so many joint projects over such a long period, what matters most in the end is the resultant atmosphere of trust which is usually sufficient for friendship to develop. In other words, the experiential Chineseness embedded in living and working together, for whatever divergent purposes, can produce a trust emotion that transcends interest calculi.41 Although disadvantaged in Chinese civilisational knowledge, Pakistanis can still intuitively grasp the Chinese way. They can appreciate the gravity of the one-China principle, and hope for a Chinese nation that is better-integrated, especially with respect to the Xinjiang issue. Most important, they can sympathise with the suffering of the Chinese amid disaster, as was evident after the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. Experiential Chineseness explains how these two seemingly discrete actors can ultimately act in union through the CPEC. If one does not adopt the epistemology of relationality, one cannot acknowledge the current state whereby Pakistan emphathises with China as if they were not two distinct actors. The long-term process of mutual constitution that experiential Chineseness generates parallels how strangers who share no common traits can still become friends, even though their initial interaction rests upon respective strategic calculi. These seemingly discrete strategic concerns imply a specific relationship embedded in physical Chineseness. The evolution of physical Chineseness to experiential Chineseness encounters no ontological transformation. It is relational epistemologically throughout. Conclusion: Implications for IR Theory I argue that the Sino-Pakistani relationship illustrates a truly relational identity, albeit only from the positive angle. It is significant because IR do not expect positive relationality. This identity involves two relational selves that constitute each other, and the formation of the CPEC which independently constitutes each of them. I further claim that both the study and the presentation of this relational identity are only possible under an epistemology of relationality, as opposed to the epistemology of the self-interested actor. I proceed with the anthropological notion of post-Chineseness, which typologises relationality in accordance with how Pakistan and China identify each other in their strategic choice of relationship. I find that China has moved on from its expectations of Pakistan as being an owner of physical Chineseness through hybrid Chineseness, and ultimately progressing to moral Chineseness under the CPEC. By contrast, Pakistan’s self-positioning vis-à-vis China has shifted from the owner of physical Chineseness, via experiential Chineseness, to moral Chineseness. Among them, experiential Chineseness is the most relevant element in explaining the change. Relational IR takes an ontological tilt at systemic or multilateral processes that cannot make sense of the evolution of the practical relationships of two mutually out-group actors into one bilateral identity. The relational sensibilities in Chinese IR contribute to the extent whereby the practicing of a role identity requires no prior constituted norms and rules. Chinese IR attends to the skill of building mutually obliged relationships in order to transcend differences in ontological imagination. However, Chinese IR has not answered the puzzle of what mechanism it is through which national actors go about mutually obliging each other. The article has developed the notion of post-Chineseness in order to show the two decisions—in- or out-group and subjective or objective criteria—actors can make in order to make roles for each other. Post-Chineseness is one major dimension that defines the parameters of a bilateral role identity. Post-Pakistaniness is the other. In short, the Sino-Pakistan relationship exhibits a spontaneous rise of intimacy or friendship made possible by the long-term process of a collegial working relationship. That said, it is by all means plausible to study it from the perspective of post-Pakistaniness, if one’s interest is to compare with an imagined Chinese perspective how those carrying Malaysian, Indian, or Bangladeshi identities see relationships embedded in unsynchronized Pakistaniness in order to understand their worlds and identities. Unfortunately, students of IR are either negligent of or uninterested in theorising the Sino-Pakistani relationship because of an insufficiently developed epistemology of relationality in favour of the epistemology of the self-interested state. The notion of experiential Chineseness not only challenges the epistemology of the self-interested state but also contributes to the relational turn and the practice turn in IR. Experiential Chineseness uncovers the blind spot in the epistemology of the self-interested state, which disallows the breeding of togetherness and mutual concerns through security or economic cooperation. Because such an epistemology provides no link between the self-interested state and the relational state, the sense of togetherness can at best be conceived as either political rhetoric or false consciousness. In contrast, experiential Chineseness echoes the call for processual analysis of the relational turn. It makes possible the comparison between those practices that reflect mutuality, for example the CPEC, and others that do not, for example, alliance to balance India. In short, pure cooperation alone is sufficient to trigger the shift from one relational state—physical Chineseness—to another—experiential Chineseness. This is how even strangers can become friends in daily life. Nations are no different. While strategic concerns continue to undergird the bilateral role identity of the Sino-Pakistan relationship throughout the twenty-first century, they are not the same concerns as in the 1960s and 1970s. In the early days, Pakistan and China considered each other in objective and policy terms as out-group actors. However, the Cold War relationality defined their togetherness at the systemic level in a peculiar way—their common enemy, India, required them to defy the Cold War norms, so they were ready to move beyond the Cold War divide from the outset of their encountering. The role identity of iron brothers has dramatically changed the calculus, to the extent that they must first consider the strategic togetherness between them. The two nations have practiced their emerging togetherness by substituting developmental for military joint force. Consequently, although India remains a lingering security issue for both, their bilateral relationship has gained its own life exempt from the India factor. In short, strategic interests associated with different role identities acquire different bases of calculation and mean different things to both China and Pakistan, who are now obliged to think on behalf of each other. Appendix: A Note on Post-Pakistaniness From the dyadic role point of view, any two actors are epistemologically equal since both have to decide how to provide one’s role identity to the other party and acquire the other’s role identity in one’s own practice. Post-Pakistaniness exists more vividly among those Chinese exchange scholars, expatriates, and businessmen who reside in Pakistan for long enough periods. They amount to a rather insignificant portion of the Chinese population, though. This article takes post-Chineseness instead of post-Pakistaniness for three reasons: (i) There is already an emerging literature on post-Chineseness practiced and adopted in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Vietnam, so comparative potential is greater for post-Chineseness than post-Pakistaniness.42 (ii) With the rise of China, it is intellectually more challenging and urgent to complicate the category ‘China’ by showing how different actors can appropriate Chineseness for their own strategic purposes, and consequently constitute a portion of their own identity. This results in complicated understandings of China amid the anxiety of mainstream literature to simplify China, each according to a particular ideological standpoint, strategic need, or political interest. And, (iii) by assuming that different Pakistani narrators have distinctive ways of combining and appropriating Chineseness, Pakistan achieves a level of intellectual power on par with all the others in the world who do the same to China, yet most of them in ways dissimilar to Pakistan. Footnotes 1 James H. Fowler and Cindy D. Kam, ‘Beyond the Self: Social Identity, Altruism, and Political Participation’, The Journal of Politics, Vol. 69, No. 3 (2007), pp. 813–27; Michael Brennan, ‘Incentives, Rationality, and Society’, Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Vol. 7, No. 2 (1994), pp. 31–39; Bruce M. Meglino and Audrey Korsgaard, ‘Considering Rational Self-Interest as a Disposition: Organizational Implications of Other Orientation’, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 89, No. 6 (2004), pp. 946–59. 2 Jeffrey Lewis, ‘The Janus Face of Brussels: Socialization and Everyday Decision Making in the European Union’, International Organization, Vol. 59, No. 4 (2005), pp. 937–71; Hélène Joffe and Christian Staeklé, ‘The Centrality of the Self-Control Ethos in Western Aspersions Regarding Outgroups: A Social Representational Approach to Stereotype Content’, Culture & Psychology, Vol. 13, No. 4 (2007), pp. 395–418; Charles R. Tittle, David A. Ward, and Harold G. Grasmick, ‘Capacity for Self-Control and Individuals’ Interest in Exercising Self-Control’, Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Vol. 20, No. 2 (2004), pp. 143–72; Jean Tirole, ‘Rational Irrationality: Some Economics of Self-management’, European Economic Review, Vol. 46, No. 4–5 (2002), pp. 633–55; Duane Windsor, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility: Three Key Approaches’, Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 43, No. 1 (2006), pp. 93–114. 3 Felix Berenskötter, ‘Friends, There Are No Friends? An Intimate Reframing of the International’, Millenium, Vol. 3, No. 3 (2007), pp. 647–76; David G. Myers, ‘Close Relationships and Quality of Life’ in D. Kahneman, E. Diener, and N. Schwarz, eds., Well-Being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1999), pp. 376–93; John E. Mayer, ‘The Self-Restraint of Friends: A Mechanism in Family Transition’, Social Forces, Vol. 35, No. 3 (1957), pp. 230–38. 4 Mustafa Emirbayer, ‘Manifesto for a Relational Sociology’, American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 103, No. 2 (1997), pp. 281–317; Peeter Selg, ‘Two Faces of the “Relational Turn”’, PS: Political Science & Politics, Vol. 49, No. 1 (2016), pp. 27–31; François Dépelteau, ‘Relational Thinking: A Critique of Co-Deterministic Theories of Structure and Agency’, Sociological Theory, Vol. 26, No. 1 (2008), pp. 51–73; Alison M. Jaggar, ‘Caring as a Feminist Practice of Moral Reason’ in Virginia Held and C. W. Oberbrunner, eds., Justice and Care: Essential Readings in Feminist Ethics (Boulder: Westview, 1995), pp. 179–202. 5 ‘China Media: Li Keqiang’s Pakistan Visit’, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-22650591, 24 May, 2013. 6 Interview with Ambassador Shahid M. Amin, http://politics.ntu.edu.tw/RAEC/comm2/InterviewP01.pdf. 7 Interview Tan Chung, 18–19 and 30 May, 2008, http://politics.ntu.edu.tw/RAEC/act/india01.doc. 8 Interview with Ambassador Shahid M. Amin. 9 Raymond Lee, The Strategic Importance of Chinese-Pakistani Relations, Doha: Al Jazeera Centre for Studies, 3 August, 2016, p. 2. 10 Interview with Ambassador Shahid M. Amin. 11 Interview with Ambassador Harun ur Rashid, http://politics.ntu.edu.tw/RAEC/comm2/InterviewB01.pdf. 12 Interview with Ambassador Humayun Kabir, http://politics.ntu.edu.tw/RAEC/comm2/InterviewB04.pdf. 13 Interview with Aman Memon, http://Politics.ntu.edu.tw/RAEC/. 14 Ibid. 15 Guilherme Lopes da Cunha, ‘The China-Brazil Global Strategic Partnership: Identity and Perspectives’, International Studies Association Annual Meeting, Baltimore, 23 February, 2017. 16 ‘China Overwhelmed by Pakistan’s Generous Help During Earthquake’, http://pk.chineseembassy.org/eng/sgxx2/t467294.htm, 20 June, 2008. 17 ‘Pakistan Returns to World Trade’, https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/146372, 30 August, 2016; ‘Pakistan Has Assumed New Identity Due to Economic Turnaround: Ahsan Iqbal’, http://www.app.com.pk/pakistan-has-assumed-new-identity-due-to-economic-turnaround-ahsan-iqbal-2/, 22 November, 2016. 18 Astrid Nordin and Graham M. Smith, ‘Towards an Ontology of Relations: Reintroducing Friendship from China to the West’, WISC’s Annual Conference, Taipei, 3 April, 2017. 19 William M. Bukowski, Clairneige Motzoi, and Felicia Meyer, ‘Friendship as Process, Function, and Outcome’, in K. H. Rubin, W. M. Bukowski, and B. Laursen, eds., Handbook of Peer Interactions, Relationships and Groups (New York: Guilford Press, 2009), pp. 217–31; Robert Hinde, Relationships: A Dialectical Perspective (East Sussux: Psychology Press, 1997). 20 ‘Foreign Minister Wang Yi Meets the Press’, http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1444204.shtml, 8 March, 2017. 21 Ali Shah, ‘The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Humanizing Geopolitics’, Proceedings of International Conference on CPEC, GC University, Lahore on 9–10 December, 2015, p. 25. 22 Patrick Thaddeus Jackson and Daniel H. Nexon, ‘Relations before States: Substance, Process and the Study of World Politics’, European Journal of International Relations, Vol. 5, No. 3 (1999), pp. 291–332. 23 Nick Crossley, Towards Relational Sociology (London: Routledge, 2010); Pierpaolo Donati, Relational Sociology: A New Paradigm for the Social Sciences (London: Routledge, 2010). 24 Emanuel Adler, ‘The Spread of Security Communities: Communities of Practice, Self-Restraint, and NATO’s Post-Cold War Transformation’, European Journal of International Relations, Vol. 14, No. 2 (2008), pp. 195–230. 25 Iver B. Neumann, ‘Entry into International Society Reconceptualised: The Case of Russia’, Review of International Studies, Vol. 37, No. 2 (2011), pp. 463–84. 26 Daniel H. Nexon and Thomas Wright, ‘What’s at Stake in the American Empire Debate’, American Political Science Review, Vol. 101, No. 2 (2007), pp. 253–71; Anne-Marie Slaughter, ‘America’s Edge: Power in the Networked Century’, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 88, No. 1 (2009), pp. 94–113; Zeev Maoz, Networks of Nations, the Evolution, Structure, and Impact of International Networks, 1816-2001 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011); Stephen Vaisey and Omar Lizardo, ‘Can Cultural Worldviews Influence Network Composition?’, Social Forces, Vol. 88, No. 4 (2010), pp. 1595–1618. 27 Pierre Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977); Christian Bueger and Frank Gadinger, ‘The Play of International Practice’, International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 59, No. 3 (2015), pp. 449–60. 28 Iver B. Neumann, ‘Returning Practice to the Linguistic Turn: The Case of Diplomacy’, Journal of International Studies, Vol. 31, No. 3 (2002), pp. 627–52; Emanuel Adler, Communitarian International Relations: The Epistemic Foundation of International Relations (London: Routledge, 2005). 29 Emilian Kavalski, The Guanxi of Relational International Theory (Oxon: Routledge, 2017); Qin Yaqing, ‘A Relational Theory of World Politics’, International Studies Review, Vol. 18, No. 1 (2016), pp. 33–47; Chih-yu Shih and Huang Chiung-chiu, ‘The Balance of Relationship as Chinese School of IR: Being Simultaneously Confucian, Post-Western, and Post-hegemonic’, in Zhang Yongjin and Chang Teng-chi, eds., Constructing a Chinese School(s) of International Relations Ongoing Debate and Critical Assessment (Oxon: Routledge, 2016), pp. 177–191. 30 Chih-yu Shih and Chihyun Chang, ‘The Rise of China Between Cultural and Civilizational Relationalities: Lessons from Four Qing Cases’, International Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 14, No. 1 (2017), pp. 1–25; Chih-yu Shih, ‘The Relational Turn East and West: From Chinese Confucianism to Balance of Relationships’, Korean Political Science Review, Vol. 51, No. 4 (2017), pp. 107–128. 31 Alexander Wendt, ‘Anarchy is What States Make of it: The Social Construction of Power Politics’, International Organization, Vol. 46, No. 2 (1992), p. 405. 32 Harald Müller, ‘Arguing, Bargaining and All That: Communicative Action, Rationalist Theory and the Logic of Appropriateness in International Relations’, European Journal of International Relations, Vol. 10, No. 3 (2004), pp. 395–435. 33 Matthew D. Lieberman, Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014). 34 Qin, ‘A Relational Theory of World Politics’, pp. 33–47; Zhang and Chang, eds., Constructing a Chinese School of IR; Zhang Feng, Chinese Hegemony: Grand Strategy and International Institutions in East Asian History (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015); Chih-yu Shih, Sinicizing International Relations: Self, Civilization, and Intellectual Politics of Subaltern East Asia (New York: Palgrave, 2013); Zhao Tingyang, ‘A Political World Philosophy in Terms of All-Under-Heaven (Tian-xia)’, Diogenes, Vol. 56, No. 1 (2009), pp. 5–18. 35 Emilian Kavalski, Encounters with Eastphalia: Post-Western World Affairs in Asia (Oxon: Routledge 2017); Pinar Bilgin and Lily H. M. Ling, eds., Asia in International Relations: Unlearning Imperial Power Relations (Oxon: Routledge, 2017); Lily H. M. Ling, The Dao of World Politics: Towards a Post-Westphalian, Worldist International Relations (London: Routledge, 2014); Chih-yu Shih, Civilization, Nation and Modernity in East Asia (Oxon: Routledge 2012); Jackson and Nexon, ‘Relations before States’. 36 Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998); Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (New York: Harper Perennial, 1993). 37 Two of his edited volumes are particularly keen on these multidirectional exchanges, see Peter Katzenstin, ed., Anglo-America and Its Discontents: Civilizational Identities beyond West and East (Oxon: Routledge, 2012); Peter Katzenstin, ed., Civilizations in World Politics: Plural and Pluralist Perspectives (Oxon: Routledge 2009). See also Emilian Kavalski, ed., World Politics at the Edge of Chaos: Reflections on Complexity and Global Life (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2016); Bilgin and Ling, eds., Asia in International Relations. 38 Peter Katzenstein, ed., Sinicization and the Rise of China: Civilizational Processes beyond East and West (Oxon: Routledge, 2012). See also Shih, Sinicizing International Relations. 39 Wang Gungwu, The Chinese Overseas: From Earthbound China to the Quest for Autonomy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000); Kee Beng Ooi, The Eurasian Core and Its Edges: Dialogues with Wang Gungwu on the History of the World (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2015). 40 Pál Nyíri, Tan Danielle, and Wang Gungwu, eds., Chinese Encounters in Southeast Asia: How People, Money, and Ideas from China Are Changing a Region (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2017). 41 For a theoretical discussion on working relationship evolving into trust, see Nicholas J. Wheeler, ‘Investigating Diplomatic Transformations’, International Affairs, Vol. 89, No. 2 (2013), pp. 477–96. 42 Chih-yu Shih, ‘Post-Chineseness as Epistemology: Identities and Scholarship on China in the Philippines’, Asian Ethnicity, Vol. 19, No. 3 (2017), pp. 279–300; Chih-yu Shih, He Peizhong, and Tang Lei, eds., Cong hanxue dao houhuaxing: youguan Zhongguo, Zhongguoren he Zhonghua wenming de zhishishi (From Sinology to Post-Chineseness: Intellectual Histories of China, Chinese People and Chinese Civilization)(Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 2017); Chih-yu Shih, ‘Understanding China as Practicing Post-Chineseness: Selected Cases of Vietnamese Scholarship’, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Vol. 19, No. 1 (2018), pp. 40–57; Chih-yu Shih, ‘Can “Post-Western” Be Chinese? A Note on Post-Chineseness of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Beyond’, in Joseph Yu-shek Cheng, ed., Mainlandization of Hong Kong: Pressures and Responses (Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong Press, 2017), pp. 27–60. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Institute of International Relations, Tsinghua University. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Chinese Journal of International Politics Oxford University Press

Identities in Sino-Pakistani ‘Iron Brotherhood’: Theoretical Implications beyond the Economic Corridor

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Abstract

Abstract The Sino-Pakistani relationship illustrates a truly relational identity. It involves two relational selves constituting each other, and the formation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) independently constituting each of them. Both the study and the presentation of this relational identity are only possible under an epistemology of relationality, as opposed to the epistemology of the self-interested actor. The article enlists the anthropological notion of post-Chineseness, which typologises relationality in accordance with how Pakistan and China identify each other in their strategic choice of relationship. It finds that China has moved from its expectations of Pakistan as being an owner of physical Chineseness, through hybrid Chineseness, and ultimately progressing to moral Chineseness under the CPEC. By contrast, Pakistan’s self-positioning vis-à-vis China has shifted from the ownership of physical Chineseness, via experiential Chineseness, to moral Chineseness. Among them, experiential Chineseness is the most relevant element in explaining the changing bilateral relationships under the epistemology of relationality. It is the spontaneous rise of intimacy, or friendship, made possible by the long-term process of a collegial working relationship. Theoretical Significance of Sino-Pakistani Relationship The Sino-Pakistani relationship poses a challenge to international relations (IR) theory. In the twenty-first century, it is a relationship that appears to be socially spontaneous and morally binding, as well as mutually beneficial in political and economic terms. China describes Pakistan as an ‘iron brother’, a depiction which Pakistan both appreciates and reciprocates by frequently reiterating her own passionate narrative on their relationship as one that is ‘higher than mountains’. IR theories, premised upon the ontology of a self-interested state, are pale in front of such a relationship. It would not present a challenge, though, if one insisted that the two actors simply use each other exclusively and separately, each for their own interest. In such a statist mode of analysis, even philanthropic acts are self-interested, designed to make one feel good, or to be indefinitely profitable in the future. However, such a cynical view is problematic, practically as well as theoretically. Theoretically, the conscious endeavour to enhance the welfare of another actor cannot also be consciously self-interested.1 This would otherwise result in the unlikely state where one does not know one’s own preference. Practically, the actor consciously acts with self-restraint to care for the wishes of the other. In the case of Sino-Pakistani relations, a peculiar collective identity is even emerging with the formation of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which constitutes the self-awareness of both countries. Sociological theory of social capital may ostensibly offer a solution by arguing that self-restraint to cater to a longer turn relationship is ultimately rational, in that it keeps one from isolation in times of need.2 The social psychological literature on friendship could further confirm that belonging to a stable relationship soothes one’s anxiety towards uncertainty about the future.3 Such arguments reproduce self-centred kinds of relationality wherein relationships are calculative, not constituent. Nevertheless, one does not know what long-term benefits a relationship will accrue before they actually transpire or perhaps fail to occur at all. Accordingly, sociologists have to agree that relationality conditions rational society, at least epistemologically,4 if not ontologically. In this light, perceiving his or her world in relational terms is a social necessity for any reasonable actor at all times. Even the most adamant individualists have first to identify others from whose interference they intend to guard their calculus. Given that the state is relationally constituted irrespective of whichever ontology is truer—the self-interested state or the relational state—the change and continuity in its relationality calls for a processual analysis that obsoletes any fixed mode of interest. This article defines relationality as purposes and processes of relating that enable one to know one’s world and one’s own identity. Even self-consciously, self-interested states know their interests through relationships. Instead of sheer calculative relationships, therefore, relationality is the proper perspective to take on the evolution of the Sino-Pakistani friendship. Interests and policies are relevant only where they answer the relational propriety as conceived of by the two actors in context. The following discussion will trace the emergence of mutuality, togetherness, and a combined identity, from the earliest point of their unfamiliar encounter in 1947 to the CPEC project in 2013–2014, which goes beyond the paradigm of the self-interested state. Following this will be a theoretical discussion on the notions of friendship, relational IR, and bilateral identity, and an illustration of these concepts through the Sino-Pakistani relationship. The next step will enlist the anthropological notion of post-Chineseness to theorise on the evolutionary process of the mutual constitution of China and Pakistan, and suggest a comparative agenda for future research. Finally, the discussion will draw implications for and touch upon the ‘practice’ and the ‘relational’ turns in recent IR theorisation. Into the Iron Relationship of the CPEC The famous declaration by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, ‘If you love China, love Pakistan too’,5 is in no way a typical statement from a self-interested state to its ally, and hardly likely to have been expressed during the early years of the bilateral relationship. Although bilateral relations improved dramatically after the Sino-Indian border clashes in 1962, they were still a far cry from the brotherly relationship that emerged and became consolidated in the twenty-first century. Its evolution has been no secret, even though the policymaking and negotiation processes were not always accessible. Familiar topics between them include the factor of India, and related disputes over Kashmir, Xinjiang and Uyghur issues, anti-terrorism, joint projects of all sorts (e.g. the CPEC, nuclear power plants, and related lessons from China’s development model), and military cooperation. Strategic concerns were apparent in, although not exclusive to, the early days. For example, Islamabad recognised the People’s Republic of China (PRC) almost immediately after its establishment. This was in some way related to Islamabad’s war in Kashmir against India, New Delhi having already offered its own recognition of China. The Chinese side was nevertheless highly appreciative of such early recognition, along with the unique air link this provided when the newly established PRC was under siege. Beijing’s gratitude was clearly understood in Islamabad.6 Islamabad also facilitated normalisation between Beijing and Washington in the 1970s, implying transcendence over ideology. Beijing’s position on and jurisdiction over Kashmir was never overtly expressed to Pakistan, which stands in sharp contrast to how China later seriously poisoned its relationships with New Delhi. Right from the beginning, Sino-Pakistan and Sino-Indian relationships were on entirely different tracks; ironically, they moved in opposite directions. Although Nehru maintained a highly positive attitude towards China, even after the border clashes,7 the Sino-Indian relationship nevertheless rapidly deteriorated thereafter. Conversely, the initial, somewhat lukewarm Sino-Pakistani strategic relationship of the late 1950s warmed dramatically during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976). In 1963, the two sides (China and Pakistan) resolved their disagreement over the Kashmir border issue in a mutually self-restraining way, thereby forming a united front on India. In 1965, Beijing openly took sides in the Indian-Pakistani war. Although this was in line with Beijing’s own grievances towards New Delhi, Beijing has taken great care since 1965 to ensure that no trace of inconsistency between itself and Islamabad would be publicly noticeable. In other words, 1965 was not simply the reproduction of realist strategy; that year also symbolised a premise that loomed large only much later— that any collision with Islamabad’s thinking and calculation was to be maximally avoided. This premise was not unilateral. Islamabad, too, has kept in mind Beijing’s positions and interests elsewhere and carefully restrained any sign of incongruence. One veteran opines, ‘Pakistan must cultivate China irrespective of other pressures. It must not bow to any pressures from the USA.’8 Given that no point of negotiation specifically led to the exchange of favours on issues concerning each party (for example, Xinjiang for Kashmir, jet aircraft and tanks for an air-link, or a liaison in the Muslim World for a nuclear power plant), their care for each other’s concerns probably emerged either on their own initiative or upon the request from the other side for support, rather than from measured reciprocity. That Pakistan was one of the two countries to speak out against United Nations (UN) sanctions on China in 1989, in complete defiance of the position held by the United States, its ally, after the Tiananmen Square crackdown constituted an important mark of their friendship which China will always remember.9 In hindsight, until 1971, the relationship could already have constituted a binding identity in itself. Another indirect piece of evidence is that of Beijing discouraging Islamabad from having problems with New Delhi.10 This position removed India as an essential factor in the bilateral relationship, yet made no sense as regards the balance of power. Rather, it indicated Beijing’s assumption of a like-minded Islamabad. Other pieces of evidence testify even better to the emergence of a collective identity, or ‘greater self’ in Chinese cultural terminology. First of all, Beijing did not recognise Dhaka immediately after the war between Islamabad and New Delhi in 1971 resulted in the break-up of Pakistan. The latter supported the liberation of East Pakistan and its independence as the state of Bangladesh, whereas Beijing was sympathetic to the resistance of West Pakistan, its ally. However, many of the Pakistani diplomats that worked with their Chinese counterparts were Bengalis. Yet, although Beijing kept to the policy of refraining from intervention in the internal affairs of another country, these Bengali diplomats were nonetheless able to maintain an amicable network with Beijing.11 For many Bengali intellectuals, China represented the spirit of liberation, and its relations with East Pakistan were just as strong as those it maintained with West Pakistan.12 Despite all these generally positive feelings between them, however, Beijing opposed the entry of Bangladesh into the UN, and exercised its veto power in 1972. Beijing was willing to offer its recognition of independent Bangladesh only after Islamabad had done so in 1974. This event constitutes early evidence of a different relationship that gradually took shape between Beijing and Islamabad between 1965 and 1971. Another piece of evidence supporting the consolidation of a collective identity is Pakistan’s approach to Chinese Xinjiang Affairs. The Pakistanis sympathise with the Xinjiang Uyghurs, likely because of their shared religion. Pakistani specialists on Xinjiang have portrayed the Chinese Xinjiang affair in light of three contending considerations: (i) the problem is a religious one that cuts across the Muslim world; (ii) it primarily involves an internal ethnic affair between Han and Uyghur; and (iii) it manifests a Turkic nationalism that encompasses much of Central Asia.13 Nevertheless, scholars are generally unsupportive of extremists. They believe that Pakistan should play a role that is useful to China’s national integration. In short, the linkage between Xinjiang Uyghurs and the Muslim world elsewhere should contribute to the CPEC instead of being detrimental to it.14 Accordingly, Xinjiang is a principal component of the integration of China and Pakistan, and hence obscures the distinction set up by virtue of national borders, and between Han Chineseness and Islam in central Asia. A third piece of evidence of self-restraint or collective thinking is the use of concessionary loans in the operation of the CPEC. China’s loans typically carry low interest—definitively lower than those issued by the World Bank. Zero-interest loans are also not unfamiliar to Chinese foreign policy elsewhere, although less frequent as reform and openness substitute for the Chinese revolutionary and socialist world order. Nevertheless, for Pakistan, loan interest could stay low, to the extent of zero-interest in some cases, after lobbies from the Pakistanis. The list of early harvest items under the CPEC includes those of immediate concern for Pakistan, especially in its cotton industry, namely, the supply of electricity. Investments in transportation, which constitute the major component of Chinese billion-dollar investments in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also include investments in energy to meet Pakistan’s development needs. In other words, rather than aiming primarily at the exploitation of resources in light of China’s own quest for multiple energy supply routes, Chinese investments proceed from mutual consultation. Elsewhere, the China–Brazil relationship is said likewise to illustrate a mutual relationship that avoids any exploitative implications.15 Finally, no other nation in human history has ever invested as much in another as China has, as part of the CPEC, in Pakistan. To some extent, this prefigures transcendence not only of any sovereign estrangement that may linger between China and Pakistan, but also that may between traditional rivals, primarily Pakistan and India, as well as China and India. In itself, the CPEC is a base of identity and calculation, but it has no clear boundary in the traditional territorial sense. Its scope may extend continuously, and its benefits reach far beyond both Pakistan and China, in the narrowest sense of sovereignty. The evolution of relationality (made possible by the emergence of the CPEC identity) engenders multiple relationships through which to counter the self/other frame that has plagued the regional relationality. The CPEC that constitutes the Sino-Pakistani relationship testifies against the possibility of purely unrelated national actors, and in favour of the ubiquitous, although under-theorised, quest for sensible relationships. Common relationality reflected in the self-restraint of both parties ascends to a higher level wherever affirmative action, often unilateral, to support the other side in its times of need becomes intuitive. One such memorable action that Pakistan took after the Wenchuan earthquake of 2008 was to send all available tents in its strategic reserve, over 30 000 in total, to the earthquake epicentre. The Chinese embassy in Islamabad was deluged via the Internet with expressions of the Chinese government and people’s immense appreciation, and how they felt ‘overwhelmed by the generous assistance of Pakistan’.16 An affirmative action, therefore, is qualitatively stronger than self-restraint as an indicator of relationship. This is similar to intervention by liberal countries in a so-called failing state in order to expand, improve, and enhance a global governance regime, and hence reflects a level of commitment stronger than merely abiding by the rules. The peak of the dyadic relationship that clinched the unitary, or collective, identity of the CPEC suggests that earlier strategic considerations were conducive, rather than obstructive, to relational development. If one assumes that they had walked on two separate tracks of interest calculus, composed of materialist security and economic concerns, then the trust and liking that ensued from years of working together would not have affected their respective calculation. However, the reality has proved otherwise. Since the signing of the Free Trade Agreement in 2003, the significance of economic mingling has rapidly substituted that of the security partnership. With both sides now identifying with the CPEC as a development actor for the entire region, and even far beyond,17 the epistemology of the self-interested state fails significantly. The metaphor of friendship is particularly relevant here.18 People do not usually become friends on their first meeting. Friendship arises out of contacts that breed trust and liking.19 In short, being relational actors, states are generally ready for relationships despite not knowing initially what shape they might take. Interaction is conducive to friendship, even if it is not consciously mutual at first. One metaphor Beijing recently raised is that of the historical voyages led by Ming Dynasty explorer Zheng He, who encountered and defeated, but never conquered, forces of resistance throughout today’s South and Southeast Asia.20 Whatever motivated his mission, the explorer’s practices were to explore plausible relationships through abidance of local customs. Zheng He left a Muslim legacy that grew into the convincing population now residing in Southeast Asia. Together, the metaphor and the practice suggest that the self-interested state is merely the choice of a particular kind of relationship. In the words of Ali Shah: Regional commons derive strength from the eastern traditions of sharing and selfless service that culminate in horizontal distribution of benefits and discrimination in favour of the other rather than self. This prioritization of others over the self is the ballast of self-satisfied and symmetrical development, which in time leads to the comprehensive appreciation of varying needs of different cultures and peoples passing through different stages of development.21 Relational IR, Chinese Friendship, and the Bilateral Identity The relational turn, which criticises realism and liberalism for overlooking relations between states, offers a perspective that may help with the explanation of intimate relationships between states in general, and between China and Pakistan in particular. However, I will argue that the relational literature is insufficient due to its obsession with the prior ontological processes of the system which constitutes states. According to the relational agenda, relations at the systemic level come before states.22 States emerged and evolved in shared prior philosophical, linguistic, and historical trajectories to make their interactions practically meaningful to each other and conducive to their identities.23 Relational IR attends particularly to the self-restraint of states to abide willingly by shared rules.24 This explains the intimate relationships between Western European states and their common support for the liberal hegemony led by the United States, often at the expense of their immediate national interests, and support of constituency or discretional power. In this article, self-restraint refers to prioritising of perceived common interests in general, and the interests of others in context over one’s own interests. For nation states that do not share any significant prior relationality, their relationships, which do not inspire self-restraint, would appear unlikely, dispensable, and unnecessary, if not counterintuitive. China and Pakistan are seemingly such states. No such tradition of shared rules indeed existed between China and Pakistan. One particular string of the relational literature stresses the point of entry into international society,25 which may connect China and Pakistan, although only in the sense that both joined international society after WWII, and moved directly on to the Cold War. Such a shared point of entry, which is defined by Euro-American rules, anti-colonial politics, as well as the quest for international recognition, could presumably overcome all the apparent odds standing in the way of friendship between the two actors. Consider network theory, which composes an important dimension of relational IR.26 In many parts of the world, the networks that the United States established with various postcolonial states during the Cold War provided indirect routes through which to connect with each other, e.g. Taiwan and Singapore, the Philippines and Japan, and Korea and South Vietnam. The same was true for the Socialist Bloc, on whose platform Mongolia could indirectly connect with East Europe, thanks to the former USSR, which built networks with both sides. Network theory would have actually downgraded the likelihood of a warm relationship between China and Pakistan, since they squarely belonged to rival blocs respectively led by the United States and the USSR. They were on different sides of the Cold War divide. The other shared prior relationality points to the legacies of pre-WWII colonialism and imperialism that constituted the two newly independent states. At a slightly more nuanced level, China was never colonised by the UK, which ruled Pakistan before its independence. No specific prior relationality could have brought China and Pakistan together. Nevertheless, there was an indirect clue. The British colonial legacies imbued in the division of Pakistan and India rendered China’s sharing of anti-imperialist and anti-colonial legacies an obsolete relationality with South Asia as a whole. Imagine if the two states had never been separated by Great Britain. Without China having to choose sides between the two post-colonial actors, Indian perspectives on China in the twenty-first century would probably have been completely different. Partially, therefore, shared prior experiences as actors dominated and suppressed by Western colonial powers first brought China and India emotionally, as well as intellectually together, yet later engendered strong relative deprivation of each towards the other due to the abortion of mutual sympathy which proceeded from the partition of India and Pakistan. In any case, relational IR remains acquiesced on the eventual achievement of mutuality between China and Pakistan. The only relevant relationality shared between the two states was probably the similar quest for recognition that was embarrassed by their unfamiliarity with the rules of international society. This is obviously a relatively passive relationality. The sympathy for Chinese socialism that widely existed among Pakistani as well as Bangladeshi intellectuals, albeit helpful for the forging of friendships, amounted to no more than one-sided romanticising, given the low level of interaction. In other words, the ontological bias of the relational turn could only disfavour the Sino-Pakistani relationship. There is, though, a practice turn within the relational IR that may remedy this ontological bias, according to which national actors practice self-restraint consciously and act upon daily habits subconsciously.27 In this light, actors collectively create a community of practices and individually adapt and improvise in their specific contexts. The challenge to the practice turn is that there were no prior relational norms and rules for the two actors to reproduce or change through practice.28 In short, the community of practice required some shared ontological process prior to friendship, which was not there for China and Pakistan, who engaged each other culturally only in a distant past. Juxtaposed with relational IR, a Chinese relational turn emerges strongly in IR as well as in social psychology.29 The Chinese literature does away with relationality embedded in a systemic ontology. Rather, it values practical relationships, to be formed in various ways whereby any dyad of actors could evade their differences in ontological self/other imagining and so keep their interaction harmonious. Despite the lack of prior relationality, the Chinese relational IR cherishes the skill of managing practical relationships. This immediately adds a bilateral dimension to the overly multilateral sensibilities assumed in the relational literature.30 In other words, practical relationships between dyadic actors are categorically distinctive and independent of the community of practice at the multilateral/systemic level. Whether or not China and Pakistan can develop a relationship away from an unfavourable relationality—e.g. the Cold War divide, the stereotyped religiosity of Islam as opposed to Confucianism and Marxism, dissimilar colonial pasts, and so on—is both a matter of skill and motivation. China’s habitual use of the term ‘friendly relationship’ to portray the country’s diplomatic partner reflects the attempt to perform bilateral, as opposed to systemic, relationality. That said, with regard to the practice point of view a question still remains—one friend is obviously different from another friend; however, a friend today is never the same friend before and after. The concept of friendship is in itself conceptually insufficient in explaining change and continuity. In fact, the reference to friendship in Chinese diplomacy does not tell one anything about this friend. According to Chinese cultural norms, friendship is one of the five basic Confucian dyadic roles that keep society integrated and harmonious. It is a dangerous role, though, because an overly developed friendship may easily break rules and norms associated with other, much more fundamental dyadic roles, including those of the prince–official, father–son, husband–wife, and older–younger brothers. Confucius specifically warned against developed friendship. Instead, he advocated gentlemen’s friendship, which can be long-lasting only if it is as tasteless as water. He could not simply forego the role of friend, apparently because the other four dyads could not cover a population large enough to make people feel obliged to the self-restraint essential for ensuring social harmony. The combination of the practice turn (i.e. change) and Chinese relational IR (i.e. bilateralism and non-ontology) points to the importance of tracking the coupling of actors in order to know how a specific style of friendship has evolved. This enables the conceptualisation of the practice of a relationship without having to begin with shared prior philosophical, linguistic, and historiographical traditions. Accordingly, the Sino-Pakistani friendship is in itself one of a kind. Consequently, each coupling of actors has its own bilateral identity constituted by prior practices between the two. These prior practices reveal the self/other imaginations each party brings to the making of friendly roles. This is different from the naive encounter between a man and an alien under the Wendtian circumstance, where relational lenses do not exist before the meeting.31 As such, intersubjective understandings become a critical focus of concern in this process, since there is no guarantee that both parties understand the processes and the roles in exactly the same way. There is only the inevitability that they continue to see each other through relational, albeit changing, lenses. One can conceive of a sense of being obliged to practice a set of intersubjective expectations as the formation of a ‘role identity’, which is about an inner drive to fulfil a relational self and impose on the other party the duty to reciprocate. Friendship is thus about an intersubjective dynamic of bilateral role identifications. It incurs the processes of prior other imagining, practices of self-restraint, changes in role identification, mutuality, and the bypassing of a systemic ontology. To clarify further, ontology refers to what constitutes agents. In the discussion in this article, ontology is both shared prior multilateral/systemic norms and dyadic roles, but it does not explain changes in friendship or role identity. In addition, epistemology refers to how agents know. This has to do with how agents acquire prior other imaginations of each other, how they generate expectations about the future, and how they evaluate. The notion of post-Chineseness or, for that matter, post-Pakistaniness, is the methodological answer that the rest of this article advocates for one to approach changes. Post-Chineseness against the Odds: Embedded Relationality Despite their seeming differences in religion, size, ideology, alliance, and level of development, as well as the contrast between a multi-party democracy and a one-party hierarchy, Pakistan and China have beaten all the odds against an intimate relationship, and mutually imagine an iron brotherhood that is ‘higher than mountains and deeper than oceans’. The challenge for IR theory is that this relationship evolved practically. In light of the fact that the IR tradition adopts the ontology of the self-interested state, for the self-interested state to become relational would be an ontological change.32 However, advocates of the statist ontology could still maintain that the self-interested state necessarily incorporates relationality for its own self-enhancement. Nevertheless, given that relationality is no more than calclus of self-enhancement, one must be able to appreciate and contribute to the benefit of the other to feel good about oneself. Hence, from the self-interested state perspective, even this process cannot be a change of ontology; it must involve at least a change in relationship. This is why a determined ontology of the self-interested state continues to require an epistemology of relationality. In actuality, relationality must take up most of an actor’s agenda.33 Before 1965, the two countries felt less mutuality, or togetherness. This was before they consciously considered each other’s perspectives, acted on behalf of each other, or even thought from the CPEC perspective as unitary actors. At that earlier point, depending on one’s ontological position, one could argue either way—either that they were epistemologically self-interested (i.e. thinking only about oneself) or that they were epistemologically relational (i.e. relating by thinking instrumentally about the other). Conceptualising both as two self-interested states or two related states in search of an improved relationship was irrelevant to one’s theoretical agenda. However, both the ontology and the epistemology of the self-interested state lose credibility after their bilateral relationship adopts much clearer mutuality. Together, the relational and the practice turns and Chinese IR have provided the alternative of the relational state as ontology.34 A growing literature insists, in one way or another, that states are mutually constituted,35 hence the relational state. However, the ontological debate is not easy to resolve. After all, we lack information. The Sino-Pakistani relationship offers an empirical case to move beyond this debate and rest upon relational epistemology, as opposed to ontology. That is, that relationship presents a case to trace the evolution of relationality in different relationships without a decision on ontology. Relational epistemology demands research agendas that investigate how actors become aware only through relations, regardless of ontology. Let the statist ontology continue to have the benefit of the doubt to argue that states can be self-interested throughout. Epistemologically, though, states are intellectually able, socially doomed, and psychologically pleased to acquire relationality for the sake of self-fulfilment. In short, relational epistemology, as social necessity, allows one to avoid the ontological unknown but to explain the rise and fall of the collective actor or ‘the greater self’ between various forms. Thus, the theoretical challenge is to gather different forms of relationships, observe the processes of adjustment, and explain the decisions to take or leave a relationship. Relationships are not conceived of as instruments to acquire interests, lest such calculative thinking should render togetherness in later years unintelligible. Rather, they are motivated by themselves to demand behavioural actualisation, while nevertheless including pursuits of interests. In the early days of the Sino-Pakistani relationship, a shared interest was to balance India. This bilateral relationship was geopolitically inspired in a coincided realist interest. Since 2013, the officially designated Iron Brotherhood implies significant waning of the Indian factor and obscuring of geopolitical boundaries. The jump from unspecified relationality (in which the two explored relational potentials from mutually estranged positions imposed by the Cold War) to transcendence of boundary in the CPEC covers the widest possible range of relationality. The changes in role identity result in the best test of IR theory. In the following discussion, I will use the anthropological notion of post-Chineseness to introduce and deduce forms of relationship. This exercise enables one to trace the choices and the shifts between forms of relationship in accordance with the resources and the processes to which China relates or is related. This exercise is about how to pull different strings of imagined Chineseness in order for China and different actors each to relate in their own ways. As the kind of Chineseness appropriated by each side adapts according to the choice of actors, a change in role identity takes place. The Rationale of a Post-Chineseness Agenda Reflections on post-Chineseness are indebted to Peter Katzenstein’s work on civilisational politics and Gungwu Wang’s writings on Chineseness, pertaining to sinicisation in particular. In his determined criticism of Francis Fukuyama’s (1998) theme of the end of history, and the late Samuel Huntington’s (1993) notion of the clash of civilisations,36 Katzenstein insists that no civilisational expansion can be unidirectional.37 Thus, he studies how interactions involving actors of Chinese identities have transpired to complicate both China as a category and Chinese civilisation as a bounded civilisation. China is under constant reconstruction even between Chinese actors—between the superior and the subordinate, the coast and the inland, any two neighbouring ethnic communities, or different sides of borders—which have to negotiate cultural meanings of anything imagined to be commonly theirs, as if they were engaging those without Chinese identities.38 Katzenstein virtually comes to the point where China exists only in practice, one which can neither conquer nor be conquered in actuality without manipulating symbols and discourses. This methodology renders irrelevant the Chinese threat, as well as the Chinese collapse. In fact, even speaking of China may become a dubious and suspicious act. Echoing Katzenstein’s deconstruction of expansionist and nationalist China, Wang’s lifelong struggle has been to demonstrate that Chinese Southeast Asians, or Chinese overseas, cannot constitute one category. Wang records the identity strategies of Chinese Southeast Asians that have produced vast differences among those called Chinese.39 These indigenous Chinese possess cultural lives and social identities which are unfamiliar to one another, if not in conflict with each other. Their responses to the rise of China have necessarily been varied. Some are capable of re-sinicisation in their own peculiar way.40 Others reconnect China and the communities to which they belong. As with Katzenstein, one significant political implication of Wang’s research is the impossibility of Chinese in Southeast Asia uniting to become a threat. Sino-Pakistani relations can easily appeal to either Katzenstein or Wang on issues involving Xinjiang Uyghurs, or the intertwined tracks of the BRI. The challenge that the two pioneering constructivists bring forth is that any reference to China can commit false authenticity to the extent that China ceases to be a legitimate category. Such has never been the case in the interaction between Islamabad and Beijing. In other words, despite its constructive nature as a category, China continues to give meanings discursively, practically, and emotionally. To cope with the dangerously simplistic and yet discursively fundamental category, post-Chineseness substitutes for China, as well as Chineseness, are included in the following discussion. Post-Chineseness connotes something from Chineseness, but the latter is too fluid, contextualized, and individualised to have a name. Post-Chineseness avoids the ontological debate on how to define China. Instead, post-Chineseness refuses imposition of any fixed meanings but allows actors to continue to use the name. As with Katzenstein, all actors (either inside or outside, and elitist as well as subaltern) are epistemologically equal in enlisting China as an identity resource. Both Pakistanis and Chinese inevitably define Chineseness, and Chineseness constitutes their self-understanding in one way or another. As with Wang, differences in Chineseness call for comparative studies of types of post-Chineseness and their behavioural implications. Formally, post-Chineseness refers to the processes incurred and the resources enlisted for one to relate to China, or for China to relate to one. In this definition, Chineseness involves practices in context that are contingent upon the purpose and the capability of the actors involved. Two dimensions ensue. One is the self/other dimension. This dimension is imaginative. The Sino-Pakistani relationships suggest that relationships, as they are imagined, can range from mutual estrangement (e.g. balance of power) to minglement (e.g. the CPEC). Another is the objective/subjective dimension. This dimension is likewise imaginative. Such dimension pertains to the imagined range of one’s identity from entirely objective determinants (e.g. the Cold War alliance) to entirely subjective assessments (e.g. brotherhood). A 2×3 typology can be drawn for each actor. Table 1 is for Pakistan, or anyone in an imagined position of facing China, to define the post-Chineseness of the PRC. Table 2 is for China, or anyone acting on behalf of his or her imagined China, to relate to Pakistan. Table 1. China as Object of an Incurred Relationship Pakistan–subject China–object Subject inside Subject in-between Subject outside Subjective China 2013– Objective China 1971–2013 1950–1971 Pakistan–subject China–object Subject inside Subject in-between Subject outside Subjective China 2013– Objective China 1971–2013 1950–1971 Source: Author Table 1. China as Object of an Incurred Relationship Pakistan–subject China–object Subject inside Subject in-between Subject outside Subjective China 2013– Objective China 1971–2013 1950–1971 Pakistan–subject China–object Subject inside Subject in-between Subject outside Subjective China 2013– Objective China 1971–2013 1950–1971 Source: Author Table 2. China as Subject of an Incurred Relationship Pakistan–object China–subject Object inside Object in-between Object outside Subjective China 2013– 1971–2013 Objective China 1962–1971 1950–1962 Pakistan–object China–subject Object inside Object in-between Object outside Subjective China 2013– 1971–2013 Objective China 1962–1971 1950–1962 Source: Author Table 2. China as Subject of an Incurred Relationship Pakistan–object China–subject Object inside Object in-between Object outside Subjective China 2013– 1971–2013 Objective China 1962–1971 1950–1962 Pakistan–object China–subject Object inside Object in-between Object outside Subjective China 2013– 1971–2013 Objective China 1962–1971 1950–1962 Source: Author Let us consider the actors facing China. The columns in Table 1 indicate whether their relationships with China are within the in- or out-group. Motivated by their own purposes, they strategically enlist resources to relate to China to enact their self-understood relationships. Self-perceived in-group relationships necessarily engender pressure to meet the expectations of those who interact on behalf of China as conceived. By contrast, the rows in Table 1 answer whether actors can imagine objectively what Chineseness stands for, or whether they have to consciously rely on the views of the Chinese. To trace the evolution of Pakistan’s post-Chinese identities, I propose that the right lower corner is initially more relevant. It was during that time that an out-group actor was looking at China from an external perspective, hence the illustration of the extreme form of objective Chineseness. Objective Chineseness can be alternatively called physical Chineseness, scientific Chineseness, or policy Chineseness, depending on the context. The left lower corner, which became relevant with the passage of time, reflects internalisation of Chinese concerns and familiarity with Chinese practices through living together long enough, from the Pakistani point of view. I call this experiential Chineseness, which was gradually bred from long-term cooperation in the military, economic, and international spheres. One easily observes experiential Chineseness among journalists, expatriates, or anthropologists who acquire knowledge of China by practicing or simulating the Chinese ways of life as they perceive it. Let us consider China relating to other actors. The columns in Table 2 indicate whether China conceives of other actors as in-group or out-group actors. Contrary to the aforementioned situation of other actors looking in, I propose that in-group relationships enable China to feel justified in expecting others’ conformity, whereas out-group relationships put China in the awkward position of being assessed. The rows in Table 2 answer whether, in China’s own understanding, the relationships depend on how China intends to, and performs its relational roles properly, or on what China represents objectively, regardless of how the Chinese think. In practice, the initial years of interaction produced less pressure on China to show its values as being superior rather than simply physically useful. As Pakistan attained a possible role of being an in-between actor in the middle column, to mediate for China on different issues, the pressure on China considerably increased because a third party (e.g. the United States) could beat China in terms of civilisational as well as strategic attraction. That’s why Pakistan’s siding with China in a US-backed UN resolution to sanction China in 1989 was so tremendously soothing to China, given that Cuba was the only other country to oppose the resolution. The left upper corner indicates moral Chineseness, where China regards Pakistan as an in-group member who abides by the same rules of conduct. In resonance with China’s expectation of compliance with China’s own civilisational criteria of brotherhood, Pakistan’s self-conceived internal role in Table 1 attaches great importance to relationships, ideas, and worldviews brought forth by China. Relationality Informed by Post-Chineseness Post-Chineseness indicates, on the one hand, elements about China that Pakistan perceives as strategically useful enough to establish a bilateral relationship, and on the other hand, elements about Pakistan that China perceives as proper to relate to. If Pakistan and China can find in each other identity resources in context to subscribe to (e.g. Xinjiang Muslims or the historical Silk Road), they belong to the same group. This type of Chineseness produces moral pressure for each to comply with mutual expectations. If they do not imagine belonging to the same group at all, the establishment of a relationship will rely on a show of goodwill. In the latter case, their respective understanding of Chineseness hardly overlaps. In this situation, relationality likewise relies on self-restraint. Self-restraint of an out-group actor suggests refraining from imposing one’s will. If no relationship can be formed, either because of an abortion of self-restraint or because of a mismatch between actions of self-restraint, the maintenance of relationality can lead to punishment, isolation, and self-transformation. These have not taken place in the cycles of the Sino-Pakistani relationship. One would need to look elsewhere for examples like these, such as to Vietnam, Korea, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Japan. Post-Chineseness involves two qualities—how much pressure to comply with the expectation of the other exists, and how much subjective assessment is required to determine the proper relationship. In the CPEC regime (which rests upon the same-group identity together with subjective choices of goals and values), two types of pressure are found. First is the pressure for each to comply with the other. However, the norms to comply have been predominantly policy norms instead of cultural norms because, culturally, the two have not been very knowledgeable about each other. These policy norms on the Chinese side have been about the one-China policy pertaining to Taiwan, Tibet, and the status of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. On the Pakistani side, these norms were Kashmir, nuclear development, and anti-terrorism. Second is the collective identity of the CPEC. This collective identity emerges in the regionalism of the CPEC that presumably supersedes nationalism. Historically, for Pakistan to relate to China, it was initially self-considered an out-group member without any significant subjective access to Chinese civilisation. Despite the fact that contemporary Pakistan once served as a part of the ancient Silk Road, this civilisational network hardly rings a bell in contemporary history. In Pakistan, access to Chinese mainstream culture and understanding of Chinese ideology are limited. China represented ‘a thing out there’, and Islamabad needed to decide for itself what China could mean to Pakistan. Islamabad began with goodwill in 1950 that, in return, successfully oriented Beijing’s subsequent approach to maintaining Islamabad’s goodwill. Initially, Beijing also treated Islamabad as ‘a thing out there’ to be related to in an unspecified relationship. The Bandung Conference was the first step towards a relationship away from physical traits, because both pledged to non-alignment embedded in a subjective choice rather than in sheer objective conditions. After the Sino-Indian border clashes, Beijing began to view Islamabad potentially as an in-between identity that could connect China to the Muslim world and possibly the United States. Beijing and Islamabad resolved the Kashmir border issues after the Sino-Indian border clashes. For Beijing, Pakistan was now a potential ally in the objective sense. Keeping Pakistan on China’s side became an important agenda. The year 1971 witnessed both the Indian-Pakistani war and Islamabad’s liaison for Sino-US normalisation. In the eyes of Beijing, Islamabad further acquired a bridge role, one that embraces a type of hybrid Chineseness because of its familiarity with Muslim affairs. To incur hybrid Chineseness implied Beijing’s self-imposed social pressure to care for the interests of Pakistan, because if Pakistan jettisoned the role the implication would be China’s losing out to the United States. This compelled China to maintain the relationship with special care of a level that reached far beyond the circumstance of the self-interested state. China’s competitor for a relationship with Pakistan was the United States, which meant that China had to treat Pakistan better than the United States did. The CPEC regime engenders newer norms. Both China and Pakistan are obliged towards enhancing the prosperity of the population under their regime which expands beyond their borders. It is a different type of post-Chineseness. Instead of China feeling the pressure to meet the expectations of Pakistan, with Pakistan becoming an in-group member, China became ready to impose its role expectation on Pakistan. In fact, the Iron Brotherhood in Chinese terminology carries cultural implications. According to Confucianism, brotherhood is weighted with obligations. I predict that the expectation for Islamabad to help with the integration of Xinjiang will gain strength in the years to come. Other obligations associated with the CPEC include transcendence over rivalry with India through the economic sharing of benefits, and the dissolution of terrorist organizations in due course. Islamabad already takes these goals seriously. However, in the eyes of Beijing they have now become obligations. In actuality, this infers the mutual obligation to make Islamabad and Beijing, now imagined as a single entity, more comfortable with Indian affairs. Consequently, when facing India, both confrontation and compromise can proceed from a position of strength. Formation of Experiential Chineseness For Islamabad, one particular type of post-Chineseness—experiential Chineseness—is critical to the evolution of the Sino-Pakistani relationship. This type of Chineseness is not easily expressible discursively, but comes to be known innately through long-standing experience of living together. Journalists and expatriates, diplomats, business people, and students, in addition to anthropologists, are among those often possessed of experiential Chineseness. It is something that engenders same-group consciousness, but does not rely on the subjective assessment of the targeted Chinese population to determine its existence. Upon understanding Chinese lives with sympathy due to living together for long enough, Islamabad may intuit how China feels and reacts. For Islamabad, whose leaders used to rely on physical Chineseness to explore a possible relationship, the move towards experiential Chineseness required a longer period of time. Experiential Chineseness explains how the Pakistanis, who have limited contact with the Chinese civilisation, could eventually cultivate in themselves a same-group consciousness. Chinese moral support during several military conflicts against India prepared Pakistanis for a collegial spirit. Moreover, China’s efforts to keep Pakistan on its side reinforce the bilateral relationship. Their all-round interactions, some of which admittedly carry a degree of strategic and national interest calculus, forge a deep working relationship. After so many joint projects over such a long period, what matters most in the end is the resultant atmosphere of trust which is usually sufficient for friendship to develop. In other words, the experiential Chineseness embedded in living and working together, for whatever divergent purposes, can produce a trust emotion that transcends interest calculi.41 Although disadvantaged in Chinese civilisational knowledge, Pakistanis can still intuitively grasp the Chinese way. They can appreciate the gravity of the one-China principle, and hope for a Chinese nation that is better-integrated, especially with respect to the Xinjiang issue. Most important, they can sympathise with the suffering of the Chinese amid disaster, as was evident after the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. Experiential Chineseness explains how these two seemingly discrete actors can ultimately act in union through the CPEC. If one does not adopt the epistemology of relationality, one cannot acknowledge the current state whereby Pakistan emphathises with China as if they were not two distinct actors. The long-term process of mutual constitution that experiential Chineseness generates parallels how strangers who share no common traits can still become friends, even though their initial interaction rests upon respective strategic calculi. These seemingly discrete strategic concerns imply a specific relationship embedded in physical Chineseness. The evolution of physical Chineseness to experiential Chineseness encounters no ontological transformation. It is relational epistemologically throughout. Conclusion: Implications for IR Theory I argue that the Sino-Pakistani relationship illustrates a truly relational identity, albeit only from the positive angle. It is significant because IR do not expect positive relationality. This identity involves two relational selves that constitute each other, and the formation of the CPEC which independently constitutes each of them. I further claim that both the study and the presentation of this relational identity are only possible under an epistemology of relationality, as opposed to the epistemology of the self-interested actor. I proceed with the anthropological notion of post-Chineseness, which typologises relationality in accordance with how Pakistan and China identify each other in their strategic choice of relationship. I find that China has moved on from its expectations of Pakistan as being an owner of physical Chineseness through hybrid Chineseness, and ultimately progressing to moral Chineseness under the CPEC. By contrast, Pakistan’s self-positioning vis-à-vis China has shifted from the owner of physical Chineseness, via experiential Chineseness, to moral Chineseness. Among them, experiential Chineseness is the most relevant element in explaining the change. Relational IR takes an ontological tilt at systemic or multilateral processes that cannot make sense of the evolution of the practical relationships of two mutually out-group actors into one bilateral identity. The relational sensibilities in Chinese IR contribute to the extent whereby the practicing of a role identity requires no prior constituted norms and rules. Chinese IR attends to the skill of building mutually obliged relationships in order to transcend differences in ontological imagination. However, Chinese IR has not answered the puzzle of what mechanism it is through which national actors go about mutually obliging each other. The article has developed the notion of post-Chineseness in order to show the two decisions—in- or out-group and subjective or objective criteria—actors can make in order to make roles for each other. Post-Chineseness is one major dimension that defines the parameters of a bilateral role identity. Post-Pakistaniness is the other. In short, the Sino-Pakistan relationship exhibits a spontaneous rise of intimacy or friendship made possible by the long-term process of a collegial working relationship. That said, it is by all means plausible to study it from the perspective of post-Pakistaniness, if one’s interest is to compare with an imagined Chinese perspective how those carrying Malaysian, Indian, or Bangladeshi identities see relationships embedded in unsynchronized Pakistaniness in order to understand their worlds and identities. Unfortunately, students of IR are either negligent of or uninterested in theorising the Sino-Pakistani relationship because of an insufficiently developed epistemology of relationality in favour of the epistemology of the self-interested state. The notion of experiential Chineseness not only challenges the epistemology of the self-interested state but also contributes to the relational turn and the practice turn in IR. Experiential Chineseness uncovers the blind spot in the epistemology of the self-interested state, which disallows the breeding of togetherness and mutual concerns through security or economic cooperation. Because such an epistemology provides no link between the self-interested state and the relational state, the sense of togetherness can at best be conceived as either political rhetoric or false consciousness. In contrast, experiential Chineseness echoes the call for processual analysis of the relational turn. It makes possible the comparison between those practices that reflect mutuality, for example the CPEC, and others that do not, for example, alliance to balance India. In short, pure cooperation alone is sufficient to trigger the shift from one relational state—physical Chineseness—to another—experiential Chineseness. This is how even strangers can become friends in daily life. Nations are no different. While strategic concerns continue to undergird the bilateral role identity of the Sino-Pakistan relationship throughout the twenty-first century, they are not the same concerns as in the 1960s and 1970s. In the early days, Pakistan and China considered each other in objective and policy terms as out-group actors. However, the Cold War relationality defined their togetherness at the systemic level in a peculiar way—their common enemy, India, required them to defy the Cold War norms, so they were ready to move beyond the Cold War divide from the outset of their encountering. The role identity of iron brothers has dramatically changed the calculus, to the extent that they must first consider the strategic togetherness between them. The two nations have practiced their emerging togetherness by substituting developmental for military joint force. Consequently, although India remains a lingering security issue for both, their bilateral relationship has gained its own life exempt from the India factor. In short, strategic interests associated with different role identities acquire different bases of calculation and mean different things to both China and Pakistan, who are now obliged to think on behalf of each other. Appendix: A Note on Post-Pakistaniness From the dyadic role point of view, any two actors are epistemologically equal since both have to decide how to provide one’s role identity to the other party and acquire the other’s role identity in one’s own practice. Post-Pakistaniness exists more vividly among those Chinese exchange scholars, expatriates, and businessmen who reside in Pakistan for long enough periods. They amount to a rather insignificant portion of the Chinese population, though. This article takes post-Chineseness instead of post-Pakistaniness for three reasons: (i) There is already an emerging literature on post-Chineseness practiced and adopted in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Vietnam, so comparative potential is greater for post-Chineseness than post-Pakistaniness.42 (ii) With the rise of China, it is intellectually more challenging and urgent to complicate the category ‘China’ by showing how different actors can appropriate Chineseness for their own strategic purposes, and consequently constitute a portion of their own identity. This results in complicated understandings of China amid the anxiety of mainstream literature to simplify China, each according to a particular ideological standpoint, strategic need, or political interest. And, (iii) by assuming that different Pakistani narrators have distinctive ways of combining and appropriating Chineseness, Pakistan achieves a level of intellectual power on par with all the others in the world who do the same to China, yet most of them in ways dissimilar to Pakistan. Footnotes 1 James H. Fowler and Cindy D. Kam, ‘Beyond the Self: Social Identity, Altruism, and Political Participation’, The Journal of Politics, Vol. 69, No. 3 (2007), pp. 813–27; Michael Brennan, ‘Incentives, Rationality, and Society’, Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Vol. 7, No. 2 (1994), pp. 31–39; Bruce M. 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Amin. 11 Interview with Ambassador Harun ur Rashid, http://politics.ntu.edu.tw/RAEC/comm2/InterviewB01.pdf. 12 Interview with Ambassador Humayun Kabir, http://politics.ntu.edu.tw/RAEC/comm2/InterviewB04.pdf. 13 Interview with Aman Memon, http://Politics.ntu.edu.tw/RAEC/. 14 Ibid. 15 Guilherme Lopes da Cunha, ‘The China-Brazil Global Strategic Partnership: Identity and Perspectives’, International Studies Association Annual Meeting, Baltimore, 23 February, 2017. 16 ‘China Overwhelmed by Pakistan’s Generous Help During Earthquake’, http://pk.chineseembassy.org/eng/sgxx2/t467294.htm, 20 June, 2008. 17 ‘Pakistan Returns to World Trade’, https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/146372, 30 August, 2016; ‘Pakistan Has Assumed New Identity Due to Economic Turnaround: Ahsan Iqbal’, http://www.app.com.pk/pakistan-has-assumed-new-identity-due-to-economic-turnaround-ahsan-iqbal-2/, 22 November, 2016. 18 Astrid Nordin and Graham M. 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See also Emilian Kavalski, ed., World Politics at the Edge of Chaos: Reflections on Complexity and Global Life (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2016); Bilgin and Ling, eds., Asia in International Relations. 38 Peter Katzenstein, ed., Sinicization and the Rise of China: Civilizational Processes beyond East and West (Oxon: Routledge, 2012). See also Shih, Sinicizing International Relations. 39 Wang Gungwu, The Chinese Overseas: From Earthbound China to the Quest for Autonomy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000); Kee Beng Ooi, The Eurasian Core and Its Edges: Dialogues with Wang Gungwu on the History of the World (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2015). 40 Pál Nyíri, Tan Danielle, and Wang Gungwu, eds., Chinese Encounters in Southeast Asia: How People, Money, and Ideas from China Are Changing a Region (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2017). 41 For a theoretical discussion on working relationship evolving into trust, see Nicholas J. Wheeler, ‘Investigating Diplomatic Transformations’, International Affairs, Vol. 89, No. 2 (2013), pp. 477–96. 42 Chih-yu Shih, ‘Post-Chineseness as Epistemology: Identities and Scholarship on China in the Philippines’, Asian Ethnicity, Vol. 19, No. 3 (2017), pp. 279–300; Chih-yu Shih, He Peizhong, and Tang Lei, eds., Cong hanxue dao houhuaxing: youguan Zhongguo, Zhongguoren he Zhonghua wenming de zhishishi (From Sinology to Post-Chineseness: Intellectual Histories of China, Chinese People and Chinese Civilization)(Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 2017); Chih-yu Shih, ‘Understanding China as Practicing Post-Chineseness: Selected Cases of Vietnamese Scholarship’, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Vol. 19, No. 1 (2018), pp. 40–57; Chih-yu Shih, ‘Can “Post-Western” Be Chinese? A Note on Post-Chineseness of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Beyond’, in Joseph Yu-shek Cheng, ed., Mainlandization of Hong Kong: Pressures and Responses (Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong Press, 2017), pp. 27–60. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Institute of International Relations, Tsinghua University. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)

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Published: May 11, 2018

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