Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, recently visited the U.S. in an effort to repair ties between the countries

WASHINGTON -- When Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, scion of assassinated Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and former President Asif Zardari, took over as Pakistan's youngest foreign minister in April, the country stood on the brink of economic default and diplomatic isolation.

Pakistan was overburdened by loans from its main ally China and faced hard negotiations in its bid for support from the International Monetary Fund. It was being outperformed in most sectors by archrival India and was beset by terrorist threats emanating from Afghanistan. Moreover, the U.S. -- its on-again, off-again partner -- was being blamed by ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan for orchestrating "regime change."

The picture remains bleak, especially after catastrophic flooding. A bitter political feud is raging, with new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif recently accusing Khan of being the "biggest liar on earth."

But in the coalition government -- which wields little control over parliament and is stitched together by Pakistan's military-intelligence apparatus -- Bhutto-Zardari has been tasked with pivoting back to America, back to solvency, and away from the activist Islamist populism that Khan had pursued as leader of the world's fifth-largest nation and only nuclear-armed Islamic country.

Bhutto-Zardari recently toured the U.S. on a mission to repair ties, spending a week in New York at the United Nations and another in Washington. Nikkei Asia caught up with the 34-year-old Oxford graduate.

"As far as Pakistan and China's relations are concerned, they're called "all-weather friends" for a reason: The Chinese have always been our all-weather friends throughout our history. Our party's contribution is absolutely there, but as far as debt restructuring is concerned, I'm not talking about restructuring with anyone at the moment", the minister was asked in an interview.

"Maybe we've talked about debt deferments. But we haven't asked the U.S. or anybody about restructuring. We're still waiting on our [flood] damage needs assessment to be fully done before we have a comprehensive figure. Before we get that, I'm not going to comment on debt restructuring. As far as Pakistan-China relations are concerned, particularly here in the United States, I hear this 30% number being thrown out. Well, how much Chinese investment is done in Pakistan, how much infrastructure, and how much has China actually invested in Pakistan? How much have China and Pakistan built together? Whether it's a communication network, whether it's the advances in energy infrastructure, whether it's in our ports. Obviously, when you do development to that scale, there is debt. And I'd really like to ask countries like the United States: How much of their debt is due to China? It's the way of the world", he further added.

"We are confident in our relationship with China and China is confident in us. And I honestly believe it doesn't serve our purpose, or the Americans' purpose, or China's purpose if Pakistan plays the role of a divider or divisive force. We have in the past been a bridge at the time when diplomatic relations were being established between the U.S. and China. The Foreign Office played an incredible role [for establishing Chinese-American ties]. Even today, if I see Pakistan or myself playing any role between the two powers, I would hope it would be that of a bridge", he concluded on the matter.