In what is being perceived as a snub to Pakistan, China sent a junior government official to receive Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Beijing Airport on Thursday. Imran Khan is in China to attend Belt and Road Forum. The conference kicks-off on Friday.
Visiting head of states such as Presidents or Prime Ministers are normally received by his counterpart of the host country on the airport. In a situation where the host is not able to receive the visitor personally, a high ranking minister or a government official is sent to receive the guest on his arrival in the country.
However, Imran Khan was visited by Li Lifeng, Deputy Secretary General of Beijing Municipal Committee. Although both nation will play down the issue and neither is likely to utter the word "snub" on record, absence of a high-ranking official is sure to raise eyebrows considering Pakistan and China claim to be each others' "all-weather friends".
The Belt and Road Forum is about China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Under the BRI, China is building an ambitious global infrastructural network on land and at sea. Although China claims that the network will benefit economies of many countries, the BRI is being seen as China's attempt to increase its global influence manifold.
India is strongly opposed to BRI. Some "developmental projects" under BRI are being set up in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir. India has very strong objections on this.