China calls on Pakistan to severely punish the perpetrators of “terrorist attacks” on passenger cars

China calls on Pakistan to investigate the cause of the bus explosion, which killed at least 13 people, including 9 Chinese nationals, which raised Beijing’s concerns about armed threats in the region.

On Wednesday, a vehicle carrying more than 40 people exploded on its way to Dasu Dam, a $1.9 billion hydropower project supported by the state-owned construction company China Gezhouba Group.

“If it is a terrorist attack, the perpetrator must be arrested immediately and severely punished,” Wang Yi, the top diplomat of the Chinese government, told Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi at a meeting in Tajikistan on Wednesday night.

According to a report published on Thursday by the state media Xinhua News Agency, Wang Yi also called for enhanced security cooperation to protect Chinese investment in the country.

Earlier Wednesday, before the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared the explosion an accident, the Chinese Embassy and Ministry of Foreign Affairs initially referred to the incident as an “attack.”

Pakistan, a Chinese ally, stated that the bus “felled into a ravine after a mechanical failure caused a gas leak and caused an explosion.” It promised to investigate further.

The bus explosion highlights Security Risk As the United States withdrew from Afghanistan, the Pakistani Taliban (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, TTP) reappeared in Pakistan.

In April of this year, TTP stated that it had launched a suicide attack on a luxury hotel in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s Balochistan province, which had hosted a Chinese ambassador.

Beijing is adopting increasingly active policies to deal with instability in the region, which it says was caused by the withdrawal of US troops.

Chinese analysts say that Beijing’s recent diplomatic activities, including tripartite talks between the foreign ministers of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan, are partly aimed at combating the terrorist threat that Beijing claims. Xinjiang area. Since 2017, Beijing has detained more than 1 million Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in the name of “anti-terrorism.”

Qian Feng, a scholar at the National Institute of Strategic Studies at Tsinghua University in Beijing, said that the explosion should remind Chinese companies participating in the “One Belt One Road” initiative-Chinese President Xi Jinping’s global infrastructure project-to “psychologically prepare” for the risk of casualties.

He added that China needs to “cooperate with local authorities to stop the expansion of violent and terrorist forces. [in the region]”.

In recent years, a series of Violent attack The targeting of Chinese citizens has aroused Beijing’s concerns about the safety of investments in its region.

Although the Chinese military does not formally exist in Pakistan, Beijing has repeatedly Press down Islamabad granted additional military powers to protect the US$62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The corridor consists of a series of infrastructure projects that connect China’s western border with the strategically important port of Gwadar.

Andrew Smallsmore, author China-Pakistan axisSaid that the explosion may make China more cautious about the speed of its development of CPEC.

“In principle, the next phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor should allow more Chinese companies to enter Pakistan,” he said.[but] This obviously increases tension. “

Additional reporting by Emma Zhou in Beijing, Stephanie Findlay in New Delhi and Farhan Bokhari in Islamabad

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