China is pursuing a long-term, steady economic growth in the region through its One Belt, One Road policy and improving military posture by connecting ports such as Gwadar in Pakistan, a top American General said. The project is aimed at building regional connectivity with rail, road, pipelines and optical cable fiber network. It connects China’s Xinjiang province with Pakistan Gwadar port, providing access to China to the Arabian Sea. The project, when completed, would enable China to pump its oil supplies from the Middle East through pipelines to Xinjiang cutting considerable distance for Chinese ships to travel to China. “China is pursing long-term, steady economic growth in the region through its One Belt, One Road policy,” General Joseph Votel, Commander of US Central Command said during a hearing at Senate Armed Services Committee. “It is also improving military posture and force projection by connecting ports such as Gwadar in Pakistan with its first overseas military base in Djibouti, adjacent to the critical Bab-el-Mandeb Strait,” Votel said.
Votel said both China and Russia not only seek to fill in perceived gaps in US influence with increasing defence cooperation and sales of their equipment to regional partners, but they are also cultivating multi-dimensional ties to Iran. Responding to questions from Senators, General Thomas D Waldhauser said the Djibouti port is of significant importance to the US.