Friendly but out of loop: China unaware of Gwadar proposal

Published: May 25, 2011
China Foreign Office says it had not heard of Pakistan's proposal for China to help it build a naval port at Gwadar.  PHOTO: AFP

China Foreign Office says it had not heard of Pakistan's proposal for China to help it build a naval port at Gwadar. PHOTO: AFP


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.

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Reader Comments (34)

  • VGM
    May 24, 2011 - 2:07PM

    In the end the Americans will end up using the base!!!Recommend

  • mind control
    May 24, 2011 - 2:09PM

    Earlier this week, Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar said that China has agreed to take control of operations at the Gwadar Port.

    Is it a case of

    A. The right hand not knowing what the left hand does. OR

    B. A race to show which minister has better access the Chinese.Recommend

  • Karim
    May 24, 2011 - 2:18PM

    I think we better handover the not just the Gwadar Port, but the army & ISI to the Chinese. Let them take care of the problems of Militancy, Americans, Indians etc.
    All of our problems will become theirs. In return, we should ask for free Visas to all pakistanis to china (like shenzen visas).
    What do you say, guys?Recommend

  • Aamir
    May 24, 2011 - 2:33PM

    Ahmed Mukhtar might be joking with Pakistanis…Recommend

  • phsycho
    May 24, 2011 - 2:34PM

    it is to be noted also, that USA has already planned to use this port for NATO supply in recent future, it is well known fact running in the real-estate bussiness circle of Gawadar.Recommend

  • IamConcerned!
    May 24, 2011 - 2:41PM

    I see connection between: Pakistan’s statement of Chinese Agreement – Attack on Naval Base – and now the denial.

    “akalmand k liay ishara he kafi hai”Recommend

  • Jamshed
    May 24, 2011 - 2:45PM

    We will talk about this in some 36 years, lets focus on other issues that are pending.Recommend

  • Lobster
    May 24, 2011 - 2:46PM

    hillarious, thanks Ahmad Mukhtar for the laugh in such a trying time. Although Naval Chief Nauman Bashir got more points due to his comic press conference. Recommend

  • Rizwan
    May 24, 2011 - 2:58PM

    What to say of our Defense minister Mr Ahmed Mukhtar he is clueless to what is happening .You can see that from his attitude and performance .What an embarrassment that after Mr Mukhtar statement Chinese foreign office has to issue this statement .Embarrassing Embarrassing EmbarrassingRecommend

  • May 24, 2011 - 3:00PM

    China doesnt sign blank cheques. Recommend

  • Siraj Ahsan
    May 24, 2011 - 3:15PM

    Very true…. Our overtures towards China is like a guy flirting with a beautiful girl trying to gain more attention of his girl friend…Recommend

  • Moazzam Salim
    May 24, 2011 - 3:22PM

    If Musharraf had given over management and control of the Gawadar Port to PSA for 40 years then any talk of handing over of the Port to any third party is futile unless PSA agrees to it. This Government is all about slogans. Whatever the problem or the issue they have a catchy slogan for it but when it comes to deliverence they fail miserablyRecommend

  • Hedgefunder
    May 24, 2011 - 3:49PM

    So who is telling lies here!! Not the Chinese, for sure!!!!Recommend

  • Ahsan
    May 24, 2011 - 3:50PM

    Pakistan should close every single door to Americans and rely on its resources. Without any doubt our nation if led by sincere country men can put Pakistan on the right track. Rightnow, agents of RAW, MI6, CIA, MOSSAD, Black Water working on their evil plans and common man is worried to make both ends meet.Recommend

  • parvez
    May 24, 2011 - 3:50PM

    This clearly shows the political immaturity of our Defence Minister.
    He should stick to doing what he is good at – making shoes. Recommend

  • Jan Oberman
    May 24, 2011 - 3:53PM

    Shameful. Once China controls Pakistan, they will subjugate its people like they oppress the Uighers in Xinjiang.Recommend

  • Shahzada Alamgir
    May 24, 2011 - 4:04PM

    Can Galani-Zardari annoy their American-drones masters?Such statements or for political and public consumptions.Recommend

  • Wasim
    May 24, 2011 - 4:05PM

    I trust China’s word over this Pakistani government/military words any day. Thank you China for supporting Pakistan and sorry in behalf of our government/military who do not know how to give true statements.Recommend

  • Ashraf
    May 24, 2011 - 4:16PM

    Don’t you have to ask the Baloch if they want the Chinese to run Gwadar??Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    May 24, 2011 - 4:18PM

    The common man should be smart enough to know that its their Rulers who are making life difficult for them, rather than continued Blame Others Games!!!
    Time people of Pakistan acknowledge the fact that its their own people in power who have made Policy mistakes which have affected the common man!!!!Recommend

  • ahmad
    May 24, 2011 - 4:18PM

    port or no port control or no control success depends on the access to it. I presume only project linking the port to faisalbad was discussed.Recommend

  • Kasim
    May 24, 2011 - 4:26PM

    You too China?????? Entire World is trying to exploit us. Atleast you support us if you are true.Recommend

  • A Muslim
    May 24, 2011 - 4:32PM


    kudos. I fully agree with you, a cobbler should remain a cobbler and not try to be statesman. This leadership is a curse on this nation and every single leader/politician associated with them is equally worse.Recommend

  • ali
    May 24, 2011 - 4:38PM

    News for everybody

    Our minister left for USA with his wife on private visit after making this statement. Recommend

  • saleem khan
    May 24, 2011 - 5:22PM

    This is just Great! I really loved it :)Recommend

  • Abdullah
    May 24, 2011 - 6:38PM


    But Chinese are killing muslims like goats r killed on eidRecommend

  • Kasim
    May 24, 2011 - 7:19PM

    @Abdullah: They are killing Turkish Muslims who challenges sovereignity of their Country. We are respecting their sovereignity and of course they will dare to kill us.Recommend

  • Columbus
    May 24, 2011 - 7:23PM

    Gwadar is like a ghareeb dee sohni thee ( beautiful daughter of a poor) whose beauty attracts alot of ghundas and he is unable to save her from their clutches…Recommend

  • Shamsi Ajanee
    May 24, 2011 - 7:52PM

    What is going on

    Ahmed Mukhtar’s needs to clarify his statement. If he fibbed, he should know that Chinese do not like to be used.It is a no no

    Or did the Chinese get angry at CM of Baluchistan getting un-happy with the potential arrangement.

    In either case the people of Pakistan are loosers. What a mess we get into. Walking with our eyes wide shutRecommend

  • May 25, 2011 - 7:34AM

    Not a bad idea at all. Give the entire management of this country to China. They will take care of terrorists, USA, UK, India, Israel, Saudis and UAE.

    What a slap on our faces when the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokewoman says she has not heard of Gwadar Port Authority management to the Chinese government. So the whole GOP is a damned liar. Only WikiLeaks will blast out the truth and expose the satanic back-door crafty schemes, intrigues and shenanigans that are going on to break this country or grab our nuclear assets and subsequently everybody knows the end result. What a fiasco this nation is becoming and all thanx to servile and pliable rulers of the past and present. My Salams for a better and sensible leadership and Pakistan.Recommend

  • Arindom
    May 25, 2011 - 7:58AM

    @Siraj Ahsan:

    wrong this is like a used and discarded and violated woman begging hard to accepted by another (different) man …Recommend

  • syed Imran
    May 25, 2011 - 9:34AM

    Shame on this Defence Minister who has the audacity to tell lies in such sensitive matters.Recommend

  • Wasim
    May 25, 2011 - 2:56PM

    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.Recommend

  • Russia in Gwadar
    May 26, 2011 - 5:14PM

    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.Recommend

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