China on Wednesday called on Pakistan to “resolutely crack down” on terror outfits in the wake of a suicide attack in Karachi on Tuesday that killed three Chinese teachers and one Pakistani national.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry in a statement said China “strongly condemns and expresses great indignation over this major terrorist attack, conveys deep condolences to the victims and sympathies to the injured and bereaved families”, State media reported, adding that the Chinese Foreign Ministry and missions in Pakistan “will continue to urge relevant Pakistani departments to deal with the aftermath, treat the injured and resolutely crack down on the terrorist organisations involved”
“The blood of the Chinese people should not be shed in vain and those behind this incident will pay the price,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.
China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Wu Jianghao also “made an urgent phone call to the Pakistani Ambassador to China to express grave concerns,” State media said, adding that “he demanded that the Pakistani side should immediately make thorough investigation of the incident, apprehend and punish the perpetrators to the full extent of the law, and take all possible measures to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens in Pakistan and prevent such incidents from happening again.”
Strongly condemning the attack, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said “nothing will undermine China-Pakistan friendship”.
The blast targeted a van carrying teachers to the Confucius Institute at the University of Karachi. Sichuan Normal University, where the teachers were from, said director of the Karachi institute Huang Guiping, lecturer Ding Mufang, and volunteer Chen Sai were killed. Another lecturer, Wang Yuqing, was wounded and is being treated.
To underline the seriousness with which Pakistan was taking the attack, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif visited the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad to express his condolences and assure Chinese companies and nationals in Pakistan of their safety.
The suicide attack was claimed by the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA). Chinese analysts called for tough measures to retaliate against the group.
“The BLA will definitely be more resolutely annihilated,” Hu Xijin, commentator and former editor of the Communist Party-run Global Times, said. “I support Chinese military to launch direct air strikes against this terrorist organisation’s camp after getting approval of the Pakistani government.”
China has in the past prodded Pakistan’s security forces to target groups such as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) including through air strikes on their camps. Beijing, however, is unlikely to directly involve itself in actions.
The Global Times noted the BLA, which opposes the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) plan, had targeted Chinese projects in the past, killing 10 workers in 2017, targeting the Chinese Consulate in Karachi the following year in an attack that killed two Pakistani police officers, and last year attacking Chinese workers near the port of Gwadar in another suicide attack. Two children were killed in that attack.
Last year also saw the biggest attack on Chinese workers in Pakistan, with nine nationals killed in an explosion near the Dasu hydropower project. That attack was linked to the Pakistani Taliban.
China State Construction, one of the major Chinese companies in Pakistan, said on Wednesday it was reviewing security arrangements for some of its projects in the country, which include the Peshawar-Karachi highway, part of the CPEC.