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Projects in Iran, Pakistan can complement each other: China

Updated Jun 02, 2016 07:49am

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LI Keqiang.—Reuters
LI Keqiang.—Reuters

BEIJING: China does not see the recent move by Iran in collaboration with Afghanistan, and with financial support from India, to develop the port and road network at Chabahar for expanding regional trade as an attempt to undermine the Gwadar port project or the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). In fact, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang is convinced that the projects have the potential to complement each other in boosting the otherwise sluggish economies of the region.

In an interaction with a group of Asian newspaper editors, Premier Li said the economic crises in Asia as well as in the rest of the world could be countered by encouraging and supporting each of the regional countries in taking effective measures.

Rejecting the notion that the Chabahar project could be an irritant to China’s ambitious ‘one belt, one road’ project that plans to connect over two dozen countries for the purpose of trade, he said Beijing might even like to benefit from it. “And I think other countries should also consider doing the same,” he said, because economic progress in the region could only come through mutual understanding of “our shared goals and objectives”.


Li Keqiang says China will never seek hegemony nor will it bully any country


The Chabahar project has lately been a topic of intense discussion in Pakistan, where some believe it is in response to CPEC, and a few have gone to the extent of declaring it a security threat to Pakistan.

During the meeting, the discussion largely focused on China being perceived by many as the new ‘superpower’ and a ‘regional bully’ vis-a-vis its stated policy on the South China Sea controversy, and conflicts with some of the ASEAN and other regional states.

Premier Li not only denied this impression, he was quite categorical in stating that China did not have any such ambitions. “There are no grounds for China to become a superpower, and neither does China have the ambition to become one.”

While downplaying the widely held view that China wanted soon to take centre stage as an economic powerhouse and a superpower, Mr Li expressed the view that his country had a long way to go to realise the goals of modernisation.

He went on to say that even if China did achieve modernisation in the coming decades, Beijing would not seek hegemony, and nor would it bully any country, however small that country was in terms of population or landmass.

He did admit that differences existed on certain issues between China and some of the regional countries, but said none of them were serious enough to be a cause of concern. “Just as a person might accidentally bite his lips, it is only natural that neighbours will have differences,” he said. “But the key is to address such issues in a calm and diplomatic way.

“The common interests among China and its neighbours are way greater than disparities, and we can always optimise the common interests and better manage our differences.”

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2016

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Comments (48) Closed



Abdullah Jun 02, 2016 08:50am

well said.......

Mehak Gulab Jun 02, 2016 08:51am

China meant "Wake up & smell Coffee"... Let's not look everything through the lens of suspicion... If you can not fight... (as wise people does) ... Join 'em...

Zak Jun 02, 2016 08:53am

Such magnanimity, such maturity- truly a super power calibre. He also knows chabbar will be Unmaintainable due to high costs. Its a ready made flop.

NAVIK Jun 02, 2016 08:59am

Somebody was telling that there was an Iran and India's conspiracy to attract China in Chabhar port when Iran's president had said recently that Chabhar will benefit China as well...

Pakistan is isolated again.. Chabhar is getting support from China, India, Afganistan and Iran. Where is Gwadar is getting support from only China ..

asad lateef Jun 02, 2016 09:08am

Good move

Sudhanshu Swami Jun 02, 2016 09:07am

And this is how intelligent, business minded mature people react. They dont cry they try to gain from other's development too. He is correct by business means, he is correct diplomatically too.

Sudhanshu Swami Jun 02, 2016 09:14am

True diplomat, having business sense.

Witness Jun 02, 2016 09:15am

Nice words sir, so far your actions are in contrary.

The ultimate loser viz-a-viz Chabahar port is Pakistan whose 'strategic location' is heavily undermined by this single move. It is time for Pakistan to an intense introspection as even its all weather friend is seeking pure economical interests from the co-operation. Best of luck folks!

point of view Jun 02, 2016 09:33am

Lets see action and worlds are the same in future.

Omar Jun 02, 2016 09:33am

Well said. The Iranian roads would eventually lead to Gwadar and through Pakistan's road/rail network back up to China and bring the region together economically. Trade will only prosper and everyone will benefit!

Zak Jun 02, 2016 09:39am

I had my apprehensions about Chabahar being used by India to counter CPEC ,Gwadar, but now it is clear as suggested by China, we can use Chabahar to our advantage and turn India game against it with help from China, China has positive attitude which helps them turn any adversity into opportunity.

Pasha Jun 02, 2016 09:42am

Our Iron Bro won't seek hegemony but will not employ any local people, One of the reason many investment in Africa and Latin America turned unpopular

Jay Jun 02, 2016 09:55am

May be China should advise Pakistan to improve relations with his neighbors. Start with transit facilities for Afghanistan and India. As far as Chinese hegemony is concerned, her neighbors except Pakistan have a different opinion. Mere words do not count.

Zak Jun 02, 2016 10:09am

China-A mature super power on the rise.

Saqlain Jun 02, 2016 10:09am

Nobody has any doubt that cooperation among these neighboring countries is in the interest of the entire region, except for the delusional right wing media and parties in Pakistan.

shahbaz Jun 02, 2016 10:13am

China! A big country with big vision.

Manmohan Jun 02, 2016 10:14am

Eventually China will shift from Gwador to Chahabar

Anand Jun 02, 2016 10:16am

Good Move... In today's world only Economy and development speaks. Everyone should keep there political differences aside and plan to improvement in Trade, Education, Development, etc.. If Pakistan would have allowed road access for India to Afghanistan it would have not only again a gained a lot by means of Transit charges but would have got road access to South East Asia via India, which India is building that passes through Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam.

XPakistani Jun 02, 2016 10:29am

Well said Sir!

vin Jun 02, 2016 10:30am

He is a very wise man, he talks about peace and progress. I hope his friends learn something from him.

Dawood Jun 02, 2016 10:33am

Nice. Chinese are usually pragmatic - giving more importance to trade and economic development than empty rhetoric on relationship/friendship that is based less on economic imperative.

KUNAL MAJUMDAR Jun 02, 2016 10:41am

Very matured observations. But Chinese leaders have the penchant for playing this good-cop-bad-cop games.

Tejaswi Sharma Jun 02, 2016 10:41am

What will happen if China start taking interest in Chabahar...

Zulfiquar Jun 02, 2016 10:44am

That's the way great leaders talk.

splash Jun 02, 2016 10:59am

the whole world knows that china is moving toward and working hard to be super power and its crushing its own muslim population...leave rest of the world.

Asif Mir Jun 02, 2016 11:19am

China will take interest in Chabahar. They are looking for operational efficiency in the project - something which has been missing in Pakistan.

Subhash.dhaka Jun 02, 2016 11:22am

Yesterday Pakistani security experts were saying it is a threat to Pakistan's security . This shows Chinese are not as intelligent as pakistanis

Sarwar, USA. Jun 02, 2016 11:36am

@NAVIK ...but now it is clear as suggested by China, we can use Chabahar to our advantage and turn India game against it with help from China, China has positive attitude which helps them turn any adversity into opportunity.

jamshed Jun 02, 2016 12:19pm

Great statement.China is China, an economic giant not like our neighbor petty India. They have suffered through many conflicts, crisis , war within and from outside, isolated by US.The project is so insignificant(only $500 million) and the route so long that it will become irrelevant and dead. CPEC will rule.

Patriotic Jun 02, 2016 12:30pm

I have a dream, one day Indian leaders will be mature like Chinese leader.

kanwarch Jun 02, 2016 12:37pm

wise words

SAEED MASOOD Jun 02, 2016 12:53pm

CPEC and Chabahar can cooperate and compliment each other there is no doubt about it, with China playing the big roll it is even safer, the question is that how sincere are Iran, Afghanistan and India with Pakistan...??? will India trouble Pakistan from that area and will Iran and Afghanistan keep their eyes closed...??? and let that happen if yes then Pakistan's worry is genuine..

Desi Dimag Jun 02, 2016 12:58pm

China not but Pakistan is afraid.

Namo Jun 02, 2016 01:23pm

@jamshed This petty neighbour of yours is the fastest growing economy in the world and powering ahead to being an economically vibrant country.

Daulat1 Jun 02, 2016 01:28pm

This goes contrary to Pakistan expectations. China is hedging its bet on CPEC.Time to re-think about total dependence on China, which will always keep its benefit first till it becomes a genuine superpower.

aamchi mumbai Jun 02, 2016 01:53pm

Agree with the Chinese prime minister.

Harmony-1© Jun 02, 2016 02:16pm

My thought on an earlier debate has been vindicated when I said this:

"Both ports can prosper and do business concurrently. Competition is good for the whole region. So, a futile debate of 'mine is better than yours'!"

abbas Jun 02, 2016 02:59pm

That's the spirit. China, Iran, Pakistan, India & Afghanistan must live in harmony not in enmity forever.

khanm Jun 02, 2016 03:29pm

Let us agree to disagree for the time being ... it is clash of two titans for the control of trade routes.. indeed a sober statement with maturity... folks..Violent statements and threats cannot provide a solution to the problem. They can only exacerbate feeling and make a clash of forces inevitable....Indeed there is a potential of trade in this region provided we learn something from European union...

Donny Jun 02, 2016 03:53pm

@Zak You seem to be obsessed with India, perhaps you secretly want to be Indian?

Ahmed Hanif Jun 02, 2016 04:41pm

@Zak - true! China knows that it is difficult for Pakistan to come out of Saudi and US influence. China realise that Iran and India are independent countries.

Y-Fi Jun 02, 2016 06:15pm

I wish these words came out of Pakistani Foreign Ministry and policy makers

Baaligh Jun 02, 2016 06:24pm

Very good and sane thinking by China for sure.

f Jun 02, 2016 06:38pm

Best way to destroy enemy is to be in their rank. This is what India is doing right now. Pakistan must wake up to do same if not for offensive atleast as defensive stretegy

ROHIT PANDEY Jun 03, 2016 12:11am

Trust in China's business acumen, not in Pakistan's?:)

Raj Patel Jun 03, 2016 12:15am

@Zak Pakistan will be nowhere in Chhabahar port. It would be India China Iran and ME trough Afghanistan. Still you don't understand what the Chinese Guy told you. Iran will take advantage of India and China and China will take advantage of Pakistan and Iran.

MEA Jun 03, 2016 06:01am

Indeed! Pakistan should realize the essence of this rational statement instead of keeping herself isolated from the neighbours.

David Rubin Jun 03, 2016 08:02am

Excellent attitude by Li Keqiang. As an Indian I welcome it.

Rather than seeing each other as opponents, we should see each other as collaborators and partners. From purely Chinese perspective and I say this based on my interaction with Chinese diamond merchants, India's deal in Chabahar to link Afghanistan gives China an alternative route to CPEC which many Chinese see as a highly risky and very treacherous. Indian initiative to link Malaysia and Thailand by road are also being looked at with approval by Chinese. PRC itself is looking to build a link from South East China to India to reach the gulf because that route is 1/2 the distance of CPEC and much faster.

According to my understanding CPEC is good for Chinese trade with central Asia but still passes through risky Xinjiang, Kashmir at the minimum even if we exclude Balochistan and link to gulf. China is definitely looking for alternatives.