China on Tuesday (Jan 9) counselled the â€œoutside worldâ€ not to speculate on Beijingâ€™s reported intent to open a naval base in Gwadar, the starting point of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
â€œI am not aware of what you mentioned,â€ the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said, when asked to comment on reports that China would establish a naval base in Gwadar, to supplement its already existing Indian Ocean facility at Djibouti.
â€œAs you know the building of CPEC is an important part of the Belt and Road initiative, and China and Pakistan are also making efforts to build the CPEC, which is in the common interest of the countries along the route,â€ Mr. Lu observed.
He added: â€œSo, I donâ€™t think it is necessary for the outside world to make too much guesses in this regard.â€
In Pakistan, the daily, Pakistan Today said that Beijing and Islamabad had no plans to build a Chinese naval base in coastal areas of Pakistan, and the matter had never been discussed between the two countries.
Pakistan Today quoted a senior official at the Pakistanâ€™s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying that neither the Chinese government had made any such request (of building a naval base) to the government of Pakistan nor was there any plan being discussed between the two governments.
â€œIt looks that such rumours are being spread just to sabotage the successful completion of early harvest projects under the game-changing CPEC. But, Islamabad and Beijing are well aware of the enemy designs, and we will not let anyone sabotage the projectâ€™s success,â€ the official was quoted as saying.
The official mentioned that the security of the Chinese nationals working on the CPEC projects, as well as the Chinese shipments going into the Arabian Sea, would solely be a responsibility of Pakistani law enforcing agencies, and, for the same purpose, a designated division â€” Strategic Security Division â€” had been raised.
â€œPakistan Navy is well-equipped to handle the security of Chinese shipments, and we will manage the security of the shipments effectively,â€ the source said, adding that this was the reason that the capacity-building process of Pakistan Navy was being given a priority.