China today denied as “unnecessary” speculation that it was planning to build a military base at Jiwani in Pakistan’s Balochistan province close to the strategic Chabahar port, which is being jointly developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan.
According to reports, Pakistan may allow China to build the military base in Jiwani which is also close Balochistan’s Gwadar port being developed by Beijing.
The Global Times quoted a Washington Times report that China is in talks with Pakistan to build its second overseas military base as part of a push for greater maritime capabilities along strategic sea routes.
“I am not aware of what you mentioned,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told the media when asked to comment on the report.
The media in China and abroad said that Pakistan offered the key location to China as a retaliation to US President Donald Trump’s New Year Day criticism of Islamabad for not cracking down on terrorist safe havens in the country.
The Chinese media has been speculating that Donald Trump’s efforts to step up pressure on Pakistan may move Beijing closer to Islamabad as China is involved in a number of projects in the country under the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC.
“As you know building of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an important part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI),” Mr Lu said.
“China and Pakistan are also making efforts to build the CPEC which is in the common interests of the countries along the route. I don’t think it is necessary for the outside world to make too much guesses in this regard,” he said.
Chinese analysts said the Jiwani base was not necessary for China at present as it already has Gwadar.
Lin Minwang, a professor at Fudan University’s Centre for South Asian Studies told Global Times that “both Beijing and Islamabad have the ability to build a joint naval and air facility in Pakistan, but it is unnecessary at this time.”