BEIJING: US President Donald Trump‘s tirade against Pakistan has appeared to further boost economic and defence ties between Beijing and Islamabad, as China is in talks with Pakistan to build its second overseas military base close to Iran’s Chabahar port, a report by Chinese state-run daily said.
The report says 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.
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 quotes 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.
China opened its first overseas military base last year in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, under China’s rapidly modernizing military extends its global reach. However, China officially states that it is only a logistics base to service its naval personnel deployed for anti-piracy operations.
China began construction of a logistics base in Djibouti in 2015. It will be used to resupply navy ships taking part in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions off the coasts of Yemen and Somalia, in particular.
It will be China’s first overseas naval base, though Beijing officially describes it as a logistics facility.
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 b 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 professor at Fudan University’s Center for South Asian Studies, told the Global Times “both Beijing and Islamabad have the ability to build a joint naval and air facility in Pakistan, but it is unnecessary at this time”.