China takes operational control of strategic deep-water seaport on Pakistan's southwest coast

China has taken operational control of a strategic deep-water Pakistani seaport that could serve as a vital economic hub for Beijing.

Control of Gwadar port on Pakistan's southwest coast was transferred to a state-owned Chinese company in a signing ceremony Monday in Islamabad that was broadcast on TV.

China paid much of the $250 million originally needed to construct the port, which was previously run by a Singaporean company. It has been a commercial failure since it opened in 2007 because Pakistan never completed the road network to link Gwadar to the rest of the country.

China's interest is driven by concerns about energy security as it seeks to fuel its booming economy. It wants a place to anchor pipelines to secure oil and gas supplies from the Persian Gulf.