Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pakistan Wants China to Build Naval Base

Pakistan said on Saturday it wanted China to build it a naval base, in the latest sign of moves to strengthen ties with Beijing as relations with Washington falter. 

The announcement from Pakistan's defence minister came a day after Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani returned from a four-day visit to China, Islamabad's biggest arms supplier.  "We would be ... grateful to the Chinese government if a naval base is ... constructed at the site of Gwadar for Pakistan," defence minister Ahmad Mukhtar said is a statement, referring to a deep-water port in Pakistan's southwest. 

The statement did not say whether Pakistan had asked China to build the base at the port in Baluchistan province.  Islamabad is trying to deepen ties with Beijing as relations with the United States have come under strain following the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan this month.