China is in talks with Pakistan to build its second overseas base near the
Iranian border on the Arabian sea as part of the push for greater maritime
capabilities along the strategic sea routes a leading US daily Washington Times
reported quoting people familiar with the deal. The proposed naval base will be
close to Chabahar port which India has taken over partially for cargo handling
operations to Afghanistan.
The facility could be built at Jiwani a port close to the Iranian Border on
the Gulf of Oman and located a short distance up the coast from the commercial
port facility at Gwadar.
Military cooperation between China and Pakistan could also improve in
response to the US' strategic shift towards India, as Washington is on bad
terms with both Pakistan and China.
The US newspaper Washington Times reported on Wednesday 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.
Both Beijing and Islamabad have the ability to build a joint naval and air
facility in Pakistan, but it is unnecessary at this time," as it is a
backup plan for the Indo-Pacific strategy of the US and its allies, Lin
Minwang, a professor at Fudan University's Center for South Asian Studies, told
the Global Times an official newspaper of China.
Lin believes if the US and its allies push their Indo-Pacific strategy to
the extreme, China will surely carry out a plan with Pakistan to ensure the
security of sea routes. China's first overseas military base is in Djibouti.
A Twitter attack by US President Donald Trump against Pakistan on New
Year's Day appears to be helping boost the already close ties between Pakistan and
China as days after the tirade two important advances in financing and military
cooperation between the latter two countries were reported.
Trump's tweet, which accused Pakistan of giving safe haven to terrorists,
drew a stern backlash in Islamabad and staunch defense of Pakistan in Beijing -
a dynamic that experts say highlights the further strengthening of the
relationship, as the US, in its broader geopolitical strategy, aims for closer
ties with India, while casting aspersions on Pakistan.
A day after Trump's Twitter attack, the State Bank of Pakistan announced
that it has taken measures to ensure the use of the Chinese currency Yuan in
bilateral trade and financing transactions and that public and private sectors
are free to choose the currency for bilateral trade and investment activities.
While the content of the statement was not a dramatic policy change, as the
Yuan is already accepted by many Pakistani companies, the timing made the move
significant, Dong Dengxin, director of the Finance and Securities Institute at
Wuhan University of Science and Technology, told the Global Times.
"This is more of a political statement in response to pressure from
the US, telling the US that Pakistan has a great relationship with China and
that Pakistan would become even closer with China," Dong said. The
statement also drew a positive response from China's foreign ministry.
"We encourage market entities from both countries to use our own
currencies in clearing bilateral trade and investment, we welcome the measures
from the Pakistani side," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng
Shuang said at a press conference last week.