Islamabad (Staff Report/Agencies): Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday refuted reports that China is mulling to set up military bases in Pakistan.
Earlier, the United States Defense Department had stated that China was seeking to establish military bases around the world to protect its investments in its ambitious One Belt One Road global infrastructure program.
Beijing currently has just one overseas military base, in Djibouti, but is believed planning others, including possibly Pakistan, as it seeks to project itself as a global superpower.
“China’s advancement of projects such as the ‘One Belt, One Road’ Initiative (OBOR) will probably drive military overseas basing through a perceived need to provide security for OBOR projects,” the Pentagon said in its annual report to Congress on Chinese military and security developments.
“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 said.
That effort could be constrained by other countries’ wariness of hosting a full-time presence of the People’s Liberation Army, the report noted.
But target locations for military basing could include the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the western Pacific. China has already established well-armed outposts on contested atolls it build up in the South China Sea.