China on Sunday called on Pakistan to “guarantee the safety” of its citizens after two Chinese nationals were shot dead in an attack that left at least 11 people killed.

The Foreign Ministry here said it had asked Pakistan to “make all-out efforts" to "apprehend the gunmen as soon as possible and take measures to guarantee the safety and legitimate rights of Chinese citizens in Pakistan”.

Nine foreigners were among the 11 people killed in the attack in the disputed Gilgit-Baltistan region in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), which also shares a border with China’s Xinjiang region. The attack on a group of tourists was reported to have taken place in a hotel near the base camp of Nangaparbat.

The Foreign Ministry here issued a statement saying it “strongly condemned the violent attack in Pakistan-administered Kashmir”, adding that the Chinese Embassy had launched “an emergency response” and asked Pakistani authorities to “cooperate in dealing with the aftermath of the incident, as well as to severely punish the attackers”.

The safety of Chinese citizens in Pakistan has recently emerged as a challenge to the relationship between the "all-weather" partners, with many Chinese companies expressing wariness towards investing in long-term projects in the country citing recent kidnapping threats targeting Chinese.

Last year, China asked Pakistan to take "credible measures" to protect its citizens and enterprises after a Chinese woman was shot dead in Peshawar, while in 2011, a Chinese mining company pulled out of an investment deal in Sindh on account of safety concerns.