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China says Gwadar naval base report is speculation

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/china-says-gwadar-naval-base-report-is-speculation/article22403428.ece

Atul Aneja

JANUARY 09, 2018 15:11 IST

UPDATED: JANUARY 09, 2018 15:15 IST

Foreign Ministry spokesperson asks ‘outside world’ not to make too much guesses in this regard

China on Tuesday counselled the “outside world” not to speculate on Beijing’s reported intent to open a naval base in Gwadar, the starting point of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

“I am not aware of what you mentioned,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said, when asked to comment on reports that China would establish a naval base in Gwadar, to supplement its already existing Indian Ocean facility at Djibouti.

“As you know the building of CPEC is an important part of the Belt and Road initiative, and China and Pakistan are also making efforts to build the CPEC, which is in the common interest of the countries along the route,” Mr. Lu observed.

He added: “So, I don’t think it is necessary for the outside world to make too much guesses in this regard.”

‘No Pakistan-China discussion’

In Pakistan, the daily, Pakistan Today said that Beijing and Islamabad had no plans to build a Chinese naval base in coastal areas of Pakistan, and the matter had never been discussed between the two countries.

Pakistan Today quoted a senior official at the Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying that neither the Chinese government had made any such request (of building a naval base) to the government of Pakistan nor was there any plan being discussed between the two governments.

“It looks that such rumours are being spread just to sabotage the successful completion of early harvest projects under the game-changing CPEC. But, Islamabad and Beijing are well aware of the enemy designs, and we will not let anyone sabotage the project’s success,” the official was quoted as saying.

The official mentioned that the security of the Chinese nationals working on the CPEC projects, as well as the Chinese shipments going into the Arabian Sea, would solely be a responsibility of Pakistani law enforcing agencies, and, for the same purpose, a designated division — Strategic Security Division — had been raised.

“Pakistan Navy is well-equipped to handle the security of Chinese shipments, and we will manage the security of the shipments effectively,” the source said, adding that this was the reason that the capacity-building process of Pakistan Navy was being given a priority

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