Pakistan to China: Won't you be our new best friend?

“China is our path to prosperity,” said Haidar Zaman, the city’s former mayor.

Many Pakistani leaders believe the same can be true for the entire country: With U.S.-Pakistani relations at their lowest point in the past decade, top Pakistani officials have been actively promoting China as an alternative benefactor that could deliver badly needed economic and military might without the relentless criticism offered by Washington.

But the drive to migrate Pakistan away from the United States and into the Chinese orbit has run into a cold reality: China’s just not that interested.

China’s tentative approach to Pakistan helps explain why, despite widespread antipathy here toward the United States, Pakistan is reluctant to force a deeper rupture in relations with Washington, which supplies billions of dollars in aid.