Beijing: US President Donald Trump’s recent outburst on Pakistan will further boost economic and defence ties between Beijing and Islamabad, including China acquiring a Pakistani military base close to Iran’s Chabahar port, an official media report said on Friday.
Trump’s January 1 Twitter attack against Pakistan where he accused it of providing safe havens to terrorists appears to be helping boost already close ties between Pakistan and China, a report in the state-run Global Times said. It attributed Islamabad’s decision to allow Chinese currency in bilateral trade and financing transactions as China has stepped up its investments in the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The report 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.
The facility could be built at Jiwani, a port near Iran’s Chabahar close to the border in the Gulf of Oman, and is located a short distance from Gwadar in Balochistan province which is currently being developed by Chabahar port being jointly developed by Iran, India and Afghanistan to ensure a trade corridor for Indian exports to Afghanistan.
On China establishing a military base at Jiwani, a South Asian studies expert said “both Beijing and Islamabad have the ability to build a joint naval and air facility in Pakistan, but it is unnecessary at this time”.
China has established its “first overseas military base in Djibouti” in the Horn of Africa in the Indian Ocean. However, China officially states that it is only a logistics base to service its naval personnel deployed for anti-piracy operations.
Besides Djibouti, China has also acquired the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka on a 99-year lease.