BEIJING, AUG 13 (APP): Pakistan wants to further develop Gwadar port and will welcome Chinese role in the future, as it is the gateway to the Middle East and Indian Ocean economies, said Ambassador Masood Khan. “China has already built the Gwadar port. We, of course, want to develop it further. We will welcome a role by China in the future,” said Islamabad envoy to Beijing while talking to some correspondents here.

“Though important in itself, development of Gwadar port will not be enough. We need to develop supporting transport (rail, road, air) and communication networks”, Khan said.

In this regard too, Ambassador Khan said, China is playing an important role. Naturally, when this network develops and is fully operational from Gwadar to Khunjerab to Urumqi to Beijing to Shanghai, it will give alternative choices to China for its trade with the Middle East and Europe.

This alternative route would be much shorter than the one passing through the Malacca Straits.

Khan has said that Pakistan and China’s common goal is to see South Asia become a prosperous region.

“Pakistan and China are neighbours, good friends and partners. We also call ourselves good brothers. Our two countries have common interests. Both want peace and stability in the region. Both want this region to prosper,” he said.

Masood Khan said that China is Pakistan’s largest neighbour. Over the last six decades, we have maintained steady and strong relations.
“China has given strong support to Pakistan’s defense, economic and trade sectors. We are looking for more Chinese investment in Pakistan,” he observed.

A new regional security architecture, influenced by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), is emerging in which China is the most important country, he said.

Besides, he noted that traditionally Pakistan and China have collaborated closely in the UN and multilateral forums.
“We support each other on such issues as UN reform, disarmament, climate change, food security, and international financial matters,” he said.

Pakistan is an important country at the crossroads of Central, South and West Asia.

He pointed out that “We will help China build a bridge to the Middle East and West Europe. We are also a conduit for China to reach out to the Muslim world”.

Pakistan, Ambassador Khan said, offers a market of 180 million people. Most importantly, China and Pakistan share a common strategic vision for peace and stability.

Together, we are fighting the dark forces of terrorism, extremism and separatism. We are succeeding in our fight against terrorism, he added.

Ambassador Masood Khan said China is already playing a big role in South Asia. It could play even a bigger role with the passage of time.
To start with, he said, China’s trade ties with all South Asian nations are growing rapidly, especially with Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh.

Chinese investment flows to the region are substantial, he said, adding that China has worked for peace and stability in the region.
China has observer status at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Pakistan and India are observers at the SCO and are aspirants for membership, he said.

Ambassador Khan said that “We have always worked for closer ties among Pakistan, China and Afghanistan. This is a shared aspiration of the three nations.”

China, he said, has worked on development projects in Afghanistan and thus contributed to its reconstruction. The scope for more development projects is immense.

He pointed out that cooperation between these three nations will not be at the expense of Afghanistan’s relations with other countries, such as the United States. It is not zero sum cooperation; nor will the nature of the cooperation be similar.

He mentioned that Pakistan and China are cooperating in a full range of sectors including energy, telecommunications, industry, agriculture, infrastructure.

“China’s top brands are already in Pakistan. We are working on enhanced and assured inflows of Chinese investment in Pakistan”, he concluded.