Chinese investment in Pakistan
January 15, 2018 -- Beijing’s investment in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has soared to $62 billion since 2013, eclipsing the $33.9 billion of U.S. military and economic aid to Pakistan in the last 15 years.
President Donald Trump’s New Year tweet that, in return for a decade and a half of aid, Pakistan has “given us nothing but lies & deceit,” was followed on January 4 with the suspension of over $1.1 billion in security assistance.
Islamabad responded that the U.S. ignores its sacrifices -- jihadists have killed some 30,000 Pakistani soldiers and civilians since 2003.
As tension between Washington and Islamabad grows, China, which has billed Pakistan as its “irreplaceable all-weather friend”, continues to invest in energy and infrastructure projects.
Beijing plans to build a naval base on the Jiwani peninsula close to the Pakistani port of Gwadar, on which it obtained a 40-year lease last year. Gwadar will become a trans-shipment hub and mega port built alongside economic zones. Gwadar is the centrepiece of President Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road Initiative” to ship Chinese goods to the Arabian Sea, Africa, Europe and beyond.
Gwadar will also host a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal linked to the $2.3bn Gwadar-Nawabshah LNG pipeline. A project to import gas from Iran’s South Pars field, the world’s largest natural gas field, was shelved by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif following immense pressure from the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
But most pressing amid the current strained relations is the Pentagon’s concern that the Foreign Ministry, which answers to the Pakistani army, could block the land corridor to the Torkham border crossing on which U.S. and Afghan forces in Afghanistan depend for supplies.