Pakistan has said that the so-called 'China-Pakistan Economic Corridor' or 'CPEC' is a bilateral "economic project" and has no military dimensions.
Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said this at the weekly media briefing in Islamabad on Thursday when asked about a US media report saying that China has come up a secret plan to build fighter jets and other military hardware in Pakistan as part of the USD 60 billion project.
All-weather friends and close allies, China and Pakistan have been jointly building the J-17 Thunder, a single seater multi-role combat aircraft. Pakistan has been eyeing a number of new advanced Chinese jets including its stealth fighter.
The report, published by the New York Times with an Islamabad dateline, said that the Pakistani Air Force and Chinese officials were putting the final touches to the secret proposal.
China last week dismissed the report, calling it untrue.
Responding to the report, Pakistan's foreign ministry spokesperson said the project is an "economic project between Pakistan and China," the countries newspaper Dawn reported.
Speaking about the so-called 'CPEC', he said, "It has helped Pakistan improve its economy, particularly energy and infrastructure sectors have improved under it."
According to the Pakistani newspaper, he went on to say that the project "is a bilateral economic project, which is not against any country."
The so-called 'CPEC', which connects Gwadar Port in Balochistan with China's Xinjiang province, is the flagship project of Chinese President Xi Jinping's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
India has strongly opposed the so-called 'China-Pakistan Economic Corridor' as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, which India maintains is part of its northernmost state, Jammu and Kashmir. Any corridor passing through PoK therefore is a violation of India's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
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