ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday rejected a Pentagon report that claimed Beijing is planning to build a military base in his country in order to protect its $62 billion infrastructure investments under the umbrella of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The Pentagon’s annual report to Congress on Chinese military and security developments, which was released on Thursday, said: “China will seek to establish additional military bases in countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests, such as Pakistan, and in which there is a precedent for hosting foreign militaries.”
The report added: “China’s leaders are leveraging China’s growing economic, diplomatic, and military clout to establish regional preeminence and expand the country’s international influence.”
In response, Qureshi said: “China is our friend playing a role in Pakistan’s economic prosperity.”
He added that the report’s claim is propaganda spread by Pakistan’s enemies, including India.
The envisaged corridor will be more than 3,000 km long and will be built over the next few years, consisting of highways, railways and pipelines that are expected to modernize Pakistani infrastructure and strengthen its ailing economy.