Friendly but out of loop: China unaware of Gwadar proposal

Foreign ministry spokesperson says no such proposal discussed during PM’s recent visit.

Reuters May 25, 2011


China said on Tuesday it had not heard of Pakistan’s proposal for Beijing to help it build a naval base, pouring cold water on a plan that would likely stoke regional jitters about the two countries’ relationship.

Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar said on Saturday that his government wanted China to build it a naval base at the deep water port of Gwadar, in the latest sign of moves to bolster ties with Beijing after strains with Washington over the US operation that killed Osama bin Laden.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani visited China last week, and both sides vowed to maitain their “all-weather friendship”, which many analysts see as a shared hedge against US and Indian influence.

But on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said she had no knowledge beforehand of the naval port proposal and it had not been discussed during Gilani’s visit.

“China and Pakistan are friendly neighbours. Regarding the specific China-Pakistan cooperative project that you raised, I have not heard of it,” Jiang told a  regular news conference in Beijing. “It’s my understanding that during the visit last week this issue was not touched upon,” she added later.

“For a long time China has done its utmost to provide help to Pakistan and we hope this can help improve the livelihood of the Pakistani people and promote economic and social development, and we will continue doing this,” she said.

Analysts say Mukhtar’s statement seemed to be aimed at showing the United States that Pakistan had a diplomatic alternative in its old ally Beijing if its ties with Washington faltered.

“The target audience of this statement was the US,” said Kamran Bokhari, Middle East and South Asia director for global intelligence firm Stratfor.

“The statement served the purpose to tell the United States that it has other options as well. (But) Americans know the Pakistanis are unhappy right now and they are posturing.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 25th, 2011.


Russia in Gwadar | 10 years ago | Reply Offer Russia use of the Gwadar Port in return for nuclear reactor technology and official status as a nuclear weapon state. Russia wants a "warm water port" - that was the entire point of the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan. That will really screw the Americans and put the Chinese on notice to stop playing games. Pakistan is about LOCATION - every major power wants to be friends with Pakistan. Pakistan is the Gateway to the the energy supplies in Central Asia and the minerals and metals in the mountains of Pakistan & Afghanistan. However, Pakistan is also the critical transportation corridor.
Wasim | 10 years ago | Reply Well the government/military even lies about its own Pakistani people so I am not surprised that they are lieing about China also. Pakistan doesn't deserve a friend like China.
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