Just weeks after opening its first foreign military base on the Horn of Africa, China is preparing to open another in the strategically important port city of Gwadar, Pakistan.
The Washington Times is reporting that Chinese workers have begun expanding the port facility on the Arabian Sea to handle large naval vessels, while others are upgrading Gwadar International Airport so it can handle heavy military transports. As of late last month, “several hundred Chinese nationals” were hard at work, including “senior People’s Liberation Army officers.”
The Pentagon reported this move was likely to happen in its annual report to Congress on China’s military activities in June. That report stated:
China most likely will seek to establish additional military bases in countries with which it has a long-standing friendly relationship and similar strategic interests, such as Pakistan, and in which there is a precedent for hosting foreign militaries. This initiative, along with regular naval vessel visits to foreign ports, both reflects and amplifies China’s growing influence, extending the reach of its armed forces.
The Washington Times states there are additional indications the Chinese recently visited an area several hundred miles further east of Gwadar on the Sonmiani Bay near Karachi. It is likely they will build another port facility in that location.
These new bases are likely intended to secure vital oil shipping routes from the Middle East to mainland China, but they also have the dual purpose of challenging the U.S. military presence in the region. This geopolitical philosophy in the Indian Ocean region has been referred to as the “String of Pearls.”
Another factor is how the presence of a Chinese military installation might impact Pakistan’s relationship with the U.S.
Full article: China Prepares to Open Second Foreign Base (TruNews)
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