Pakistan has denied that a multibillion-dollar infrastructure project built and financed by China has a “military dimension.”
A New York Times article on December 19 reported that Islamabad and Beijing, key allies, were planning military projects as part of a massive infrastructure project known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which seeks to connect China’s western province of Xinjiang with Pakistan’s Arabian Sea port of Gwadar.
The CPEC effort consists of rail, road, and energy infrastructure and is part of China’s $1 trillion Belt and Road initiative that stretches across some 70 countries.
The New York Times reported that the Pakistani Air Force and Chinese officials were finalizing a secret proposal to expand Pakistan’s building of Chinese military jets, weaponry, and other hardware.
The newspaper reported that the secret plan would also “deepen the cooperation between China and Pakistan in space, a frontier the Pentagon recently said Beijing was trying to militarize after decades of playing catch-up.”
But a spokesman for Pakistan’s Foreign Office said CPEC had no military dimensions.
“The CPEC has helped Pakistan improve its economy, particularly energy and infrastructure sectors have improved under it,” said Mohammad Faisal during a press conference on December 28. “The CPEC is a bilateral economic project, which is not against any country.”