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China warns its citizens in Pakistan of imminent terrorist attack

09 December 2017

In another blow to China's great infrastructure diplomacy, the Chinese embassy in Islamabad has warned thousands of Chinese workers engaged in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects that they risk imminent terrorist attack.

CPEC's Chinese workers in Pakistan may be targeted by terrorists, China embassy warned even as Beijing has lowered the its ''Belt and Road'' pledge from the original $57 billion.

According to the Chinese embassy, terrorists are plotting a series of attacks on Chinese targets, even as it pours billions of dollars into infrastructure projects in a country plagued by militancy.

China's exposure to militant attacks has risen in recent years as its overseas footprint expands. The Islamic State group in June claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and killing of two Chinese teachers in Quetta.

President Xi Jinping`s signature programme, the "Belt and Road" development plan aims to link China with the Middle East and Europe.

China, which found safeguarding its investments in Pakistan difficult, is now finding it even more difficult to engage terror-infested Pakistan in an economic dialogue.

Protecting employees of Chinese companies, as well as individual entrepreneurs who have followed the investment wave along what is known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has been a concern for Chinese officials.

"It is understood that terrorists plan in the near term to launch a series of attacks against Chinese organisations and personnel in Pakistan," the Chinese embassy in Pakistan said in a statement on its website.

The embassy warned all "Chinese-invested organisations and Chinese citizens to increase security awareness, strengthen internal precautions, reduce trips outside as much as possible, and avoid crowded public spaces".

The embassy would not give further details when contacted by media including the South China Morning Post.

It also asked Chinese nationals to cooperate with Pakistan`s police and the military, and to alert the embassy in the event of an emergency.

China has long feared collusion between members of its Uighur Muslim minority in its far western region of Xinjiang and militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Added to this, the increasing violence in Pakistan`s southwestern Baluchistan province has fuelled concern about security for planned transport and energy links from western China to Pakistan`s deepwater port of Gwadar.

The Taliban, sectarian groups linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State all operate in Baluchistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan and is at the centre of the "Belt and Road" initiative.

Pakistan's government has promised Beijing that it will deploy troops to secure the economic corridor being built and root out anti-China militants in its north-western tribal areas.

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