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«It's all about connectivity»

Shaukat Aziz discussed world politics with Prinz Michael of Liechtenstein

At Asia Society Switzerland’s last event of 2016 - our inaugural year - former Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz discussed world politics with Prince Michael of Liechtenstein. Aziz commented first on his home country’s relationship with China, which he described as exemplary. “The cornerstone of this relationship is the Chinese ’One Belt One Road’ initiative, under which $46 billion will be invested in infrastructure. It’s all about connectivity”, said Aziz. He emphasized that new trade and communication routes are a win-win for everybody. “This is not targeted against anyone.”

Aziz was more critical of Pakistan’s neighbour India. During his tenure as prime minister, the two countries had been very close to a peace agreement. But now the relationship “is deteriorating”. He also said that the outgoing Obama administration had not invested a lot of time to address issues in South Asia. As for Obama’s designated successor Donald Trump, Shaukat Aziz said: “Let’s wait and see what he does.”

On the Middle East, Aziz noted that attempts at regime change created a power vacuum and called the situation in Libya the “one of the greatest geopolitical disasters of our time”. Asked about better ways to change regimes, Aziz counselled politicians to promote democracy and a free press. Speaking from his own experience, he added: “And then develop a very thick skin.”