China To Build Airport Close To Azad Kashmir

20 April 2015
Pakistan Tribune

Islamabad: China has revealed plans to construct an airport on the strategically located Pamir plateau of Xinjiang, close to its border with Azad Kashmir. The airport will be built 3,200 ft above sea level and will be the first of its kind on a high plateau in the city of Tashkurgan, providing access to the remote area, according to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of China. Tashkurgan is a small trading city located along the Karakoram Highway. Experts from the CAA visited three shortlisted locations in Tashkurgan last week to choose a site for the airport. China aims to swiftly transfer resources to the remote but strategic region by using the airport. The city has become more significant since the China's $46 billion economic corridor, linking Kashgar in Xinjiang, through Tashkurgan and across into Azad Kashmir all the way to the Gwadar port. The economic corridor aims to connect Gwadar port with North-West China and plan to initiate road and rail links as well as pipelines, which will be a source of oil import for China. The plan, which involves laying down infrastructure in Azad Kashmir, such as railways, highways and energy projects, is said to have caused alarm in New Delhi. However, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao was reported saying on Friday: 'The project does not concern the relevant dispute between India and Pakistan. So, I do not think the Indian side should be concerned about that.' China is also upgrading the 1,300-km Karakoram Highway. Andrew Small, author of 'the China Pakistan Axis', based on six years of research spoke in his book about the China-Pakistan friendship, saying it was more lasting and has better prospects than its temperamental friendship with America.