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
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
"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