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China denies talks with Pak to build naval base at Gwadar port

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BEIJING (PTI): China has denied any talks with Pakistan for building a naval base at the strategic Gwadar deep sea port, which was built with its assistance in Balochistan.

No such proposal figured during the just concluded visit of Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Jiang Yu told a media briefing here, when asked about reported remarks by Pakistan Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar, about the project.

"China, Pakistan are friendly neighbours engaged in extensive cooperation across the board. As for the cooperation project you mentioned, I have not heard about it.

Over the years, China has provided assistance to Pakistan within its capacity," he said.

"We hope this assistance will help Pakistan to improve its livelihood and realise sustainable economic and social development and we will continue to do so in the future," she said.

Asked whether she was denying that any agreement was reached on this, she said "as far as I know, the topic was not brought up during the visit last week."

Mukhtar, who accompanied Gilani during the just concluded visit to China, had said that his country appreciated that China has agreed to run the port, but would be more grateful "if a naval base is constructed at the site of Gwadar for Pakistan."

Gwadar port, located in the Balochistan province about 450 km west of Karachi in the Arabian Sea, was developed with major investments from China.

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