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China interested in setting up bases in Pakistan: Daily

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Oct 26, IRNA -- China is interested in setting up military bases either in Pakistani tribal region or the Northern areas which are closer to the Chinese province of Xinjiang, a report said on Wednesday.

According to a report published in daily ‘The News’ Pakistan wants China to build a naval base at its southwestern seaport of Gwadar in Balochistan.

The report quoting sources in Islamabad said the Chinese desire is meant to contain the growing terrorist activities of the Chinese rebels belonging to the al-Qaeda-linked East Turkestan.
The Chinese Muslim rebels want the creation of an independent Islamic state and are allegedly being trained in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

Beijing’s wish for a military presence in Pakistan was discussed at length by the political and military leadership of both the countries in recent months as China has become more concerned about the Pakistani tribal areas as a haven for radicals.

China believes that similar to the American military presence in Pakistan, a Chinese presence would enable its military to effectively counter the Muslim separatists who had been operating from the tribal areas of Pakistan for almost a decade and carrying out crossborder terrorist activities in the Xinjiang Province.

There were three high profile visits from Pakistan to China in recent months: the first by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar; then by President Asif Zardari followed by DG ISI Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

The Pakistani visits were reciprocated by the September 28, 2011 visits to Islamabad by Chinese Vice Premier Meng Jianzhu and Chinese Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu.

Chinese desire to have military bases in Pakistan is not a new one and had been discussed even in the past.

Analysts say although it might not be politically feasible for the Pakistani government to openly allow China to set up military bases on its soil, Islamabad might allow Beijing the use of its military facilities without any public announcement, as a first step.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30631834

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