China contradicts Pak`s claim to run Gwadar port
Last Updated: Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 21:49
Beijing: China on Tuesday contradicted Pakistan's claim that it has "acceded" to its request to take over the operations at the strategic deep-sea Gwadar port in Balochistan.

Denying that the issue figured during the recent visit of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani here, Chinese Foreign Ministry, spokesperson, Jiang Yu said, "Regarding that specific cooperative project, I have not heard of it. It's my understanding that during the visit last week this issue was not touched upon."

Asked whether she was denying that any agreement was reached on this she said "as far as I know, the topic was not brought up during the visit last week".

Jiang's comments contradicted assertions made by Pakistan Defence Minister, Ahmad Mukhtar in Islamabad that "Chinese government has acceded to Pakistan's request to take over operations at Gwadar port as soon as the terms of agreement with the Singapore Port Authority (SPA) expire".

Mukhtar accompanied Gilani during the just concluded visit. Pakistan's official APP news agency quoted Mukhtar as saying that Pakistan appreciated that the Chinese government agrees to run the port, but would be more grateful "if a naval base is constructed at the site of Gwadar for Pakistan."

Commenting on Pakistan Minister's remarks Zhao Gancheng, director of South Asia Studies at the state run Shanghai Institute of International Studies, said "Pakistan's hope of cooperation with China in building a naval base is nothing but a proposal."


"The suggestion is natural given the fact that China helped Pakistan construct Gwadar port (in Arabian Sea)," he told state run Global Times daily.

As a major world trade power, it is obvious that China has its own interests in the Indian Ocean, just like other countries in the region, including India, Zhao said.

"It serves China's interests to see peace and stability in the region so any speculation on China-Pakistan cooperation will be meaningless," he said.

On the counter terrorism cooperation between China and Pakistan, Jiang said "Pakistan is an important country in South Asia and made important contribution to international counter-terrorism effort."

"International community should give Pakistan more understanding and support. The stability and development of Pakistan is closely linked to stability and development of the South Asia and we hope that the international community should step up cooperation on counter-terrorism and in the process of counter-terrorism; countries' sovereignty and territorial integrity should be honestly respected," she said.

About the reports of the presence of Chinese defence personnel at the Karachi Naval base which was attacked by Taliban militants she said Chinese technical personnel who were present at the naval base when the attack took place have been safely relocated and there is no report of any casualties.


First Published: Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 21:49

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