Russia’s foreign ministry Tuesday denied Pakistani media reports about ‘secret negotiations’ between the two countries regarding cooperation on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Reports circulating last week claimed that the Russian spy chief had made a visit to Pakistan in order to inspect the Gwadar port. The reports alleged that Pakistan had formally authorised Russia to join the $46bn CPEC after the head of Russian intelligence requested to join the project. “The Pakistani media reports about secret negotiations between Russia and Pakistan on the implementation of projects as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are not true to the facts,” said the Russian foreign ministry in a statement

Russia denied holding discussions with Pakistan on the possibility of joining the project. “Moscow is not discussing the possibility of joining this project [CPEC] with Islamabad,” the Russian foreign ministry said. “Russia-Pakistan trade and economic cooperation has its own inherent value, and we intend to strengthen it,” it said, adding, “Russian companies are implementing business projects in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, including the planned construction of the North-South gas pipeline from Karachi to Lahore, on a bilateral basis.”