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Suspicions on China's taking over of Gwadar port are groundless

(People's Daily Online)

18:11, February 20, 2013

Key Words: China-Pakistan ; Gwadar port

Related Reading:
>> Management handover of Gwadar port begins

On Feb. 18, Pakistan formally handed over the right to operate Gwadar port from Singapore companies to Chinese enterprises. Because of the special location of Gwadar port, the Western media give extraordinary political significance to this move.

A win-win move for China and Pakistan

Gwadar port is located on the Arabian Sea coast in Pakistan's southwestern border area. Close to the Iranian border, it is just 400 kilometers away from the world's major tanker waterway, the Strait of Hormuz. The port is likened to a gate leading to the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf.

Pakistani officials said the contract is "China's second most important investment in Pakistan following the Karakoram Highway". Experts believe that this contract represents a win-win outcome for the two countries and brings a new platform for deeper economic cooperation between China and Pakistan.

Zhao Gancheng, researcher with Shanghai Institute of International Studies, said that if well-managed, the port will greatly improve the security of China's energy and trade related maritime transport, and can make important contribution when Chinese fleets enter into the Indian Ocean to maintain the security of international waterways. Former Ambassador to India Pei Yuanying said Pakistan has the intention to build an onshore pipeline in the area which will lead through western China. Second, Gwadar port will become a logistics support base for supplies and maintenance along the route of large fleet when the Chinese naval fleet goes to the Suez Canal, the Mediterranean, and the Gulf of Aden for the anti-pirate missions.

For Pakistan, the in-depth development of the port also represents real economic value and far-reaching significance. Gwadar Port is expected to become a regional marine transfer station and a strategic hub integrating transshipment, warehousing, and transportation. It will not only promote Pakistan's foreign trade, create a large number of job opportunities, ameliorate the poor condition of the people of Balochistan, but also open a window for the landlocked central Asia to reach out to the world. In addition, once the pipeline leading to inland is completed, it will bring the Pakistani government immeasurable wealth, and even able to drive the development of Pakistan's economy as a whole.

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