China on Friday refuted a report in The New York Times that Beijing and Islamabad are collaborating on a secret military project under the guise of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters that her information indicated that the report was “not true”.
The daily had claimed that it had seen a confidential plan that detailed collaboration between Pakistani Air Force and Chinese officials to increase the development of Chinese military jets, weaponry and other hardware as well as measures to improve bilateral cooperation in space.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. India has opposed the project as part of it will pass through the disputed territory in Kashmir.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson reiterated the claim that the “Belt and Road” project is solely an economic and social agreement. “The CPEC is an important cooperation framework with a view to the long-term cooperation and development between China and Pakistan in various fields, aiming to promote the economic and social development and enhance the livelihood of relevant regions,” she said. “On December 20, the Joint Coordination Committee of the CPEC held its eighth meeting in Beijing.”
“Going forward, the two sides will continue to implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and consolidate the early harvest projects of the CPEC, in particular expanding the CPEC to such fields as the building of industrial parks and social livelihood,” the spokesperson added.