China setting up military logistics facilities in Pakistan: US report

Report also warned the United States that Chinese military is pressing to double its 200-plus nuclear warheads. PHOTO: FILE


The bilateral relations between Pakistan and China have emerged stronger after the former launched multi-billion dollar CPEC project under its ambitious OBOR initiative in the country.

An official US report released by its Department of Defence last week said due to geo-strategic importance, China has likely considered locations for military logistics facilities in Pakistan and other countries, a claim rejected by both Islamabad and Beijing. In its annual report to Congress on China's military, the Pentagon said Pakistan is among a handful of countries where Beijing seeks to enhance both "bilateral and multilateral" engagements. "In support of its national strategy, the PRC [People's Republic of China] pursues a range of goals through OBOR to include strengthening its territorial integrity, increasing its energy security, and expanding its international influence."

Similarly, OBOR projects associated with pipelines and port construction in Pakistan intend to decrease China's reliance on transporting energy resources through strategic choke points, such as the Strait of Malacca, read the report. The report claimed that China continues to expand the Chinese military participation in bilateral and multilateral military exercises, normalising its presence overseas and establishing ties to foreign militaries. "..An increase in bilateral and multilateral engagement with foreign militaries, including Russia, Pakistan, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) can improve the PLA's [People's Liberation Army] ability to organise and manage combined operations that integrate foreign forces," Pentagon said in its report.

The reported also warned the United States that Chinese military is pressing to double its 200-plus nuclear warheads within a decade with the ability to launch them aboard ballistic missiles by land, sea and air. Aside from aiming for technological parity with the United States, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is also focused on conducting joint operations, to be able to deter or defeat any US effort to intervene on Taiwan's behalf, the report said. It said that PLA has already matched or surpassed the United States military in several areas, including shipbuilding, land-based ballistic and cruise missiles, and air defense systems.

Responding to the report, China's defence ministry called the report "utterly wrong" and a misinterpretation of Beijing's "defence policy and military strategy".

The report "defamed China's military modernisation, defence expenditure, nuclear policy and other issues", the ministry said in a statement.

(With input from AFP)


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