Pakistan's desire for maximum balance and diversification in its external relations has also led to close relations with China--a valuable geopolitical connection. In 1950 Pakistan recognized the new People's Republic of China, the third noncommunist state and the first Muslim country to do so. The deterioration in Sino-Indian relations that culminated in the 1962 border war provided new opportunities for Pakistan's relations with China. The two countries reached agreement on the border between them, and a road was built linking China's Xinjiang-Uygur Autonomous Region with the Northern Areas of Pakistan. China supported Pakistan diplomatically in both its 1965 and 1971 wars with India and provided Pakistan with economic and military assistance. Pakistan's China connection enabled it to facilitate the 1971 visit of United States secretary of state Henry Kissinger to that country, and in the 1980s China and the United States supplied military and economic assistance through Pakistan to the Afghan mujahidin fighting the Soviet occupation forces. Pakistan's ties with China remain strong, and friendly relations between the two countries continue to be an important factor in Pakistan's foreign policy.
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