China appears to be expanding its regional influence more than Russia. How the US responds will be an interesting question. From Lawrence Sellin at dailycaller.com:
On January 1, 2018, The Daily Caller published information — later confirmed in two separate reports, here and here — about a plan for a Chinese military base on the Jiwani peninsula in Pakistan, near Gwadar, a sea port critical to the success of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
According to noted national security correspondent Bill Gertz:
“Plans for the base were advanced during a visit to Jiwani on Dec. 18 by a group of 16 Chinese People’s Liberation Army officers who met with about 10 Pakistani military officers.”
“The Chinese also asked the Pakistanis to undertake a major upgrade of Jiwani airport so the facility will be able to handle large Chinese military aircraft. Work on the airport improvements is expected to begin in July.”
Sources now say the plan has been accelerated. Upgrade of the Jiwani airport is already underway. In addition, procedures are being formulated for the relocation of the local population to make way for Chinese military and other support personnel. The sensitivity and importance of this issue to China and Pakistan cannot be overstated. After the disclosures and the expected denials from both Islamabad and Beijing, Pakistani officials, as early as January 5, 2018, launched a leak investigation and it was jointly decided to advance the schedule for the Jiwani base.
Strategically, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is their roadmap to geopolitical dominance. It is soft power with an underlying hard power, military component, the so-called “String of Pearls” bases and facilities.
A Chinese military base on the Jiwani peninsula will complement the Chinese base in Djibouti, which became operational in 2017. Both are located at strategic choke points. The Djibouti base is near the entrance to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, while the Jiwani base will be within easy reach of the Strait of Hormuz, a combination, not only capable of dominating vital sea lanes in the Arabian Sea, but boxing-in U.S bases in the Persian Gulf and outflanking the U.S. naval facility on Diego Garcia.
There is concern that the Chinese will transform its 99-year lease of the Sri Lankan port of Hambantota into another naval base, the exact “debt-trap” method the Chinese used in Djibouti and after its acquisition of a 40-year lease of the Pakistani port of Gwadar. There are also continuing Chinese diplomatic efforts to gain access to the Maldives.
To continue reading: Change Is Coming: China Is Accelerating Its Plan For A Military Base In Pakistan