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‘Shocked’ China asks Pakistan to ensure safety of Chinese projects after 9 Chinese killed in bus explosion, sends investigation team

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BEIJING:A shocked and worried China has asked Pakistan to ensure safety of Chinese projects and its citizens in the country after Wednesday’s deadly shuttle bus blast in north Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province killed 9 Chinese people.

 Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed shock at the incident and announced Thursday that it is sending a special team to Pakistan to investigate and follow-up work into the blast that killed at least 13 people.

The joint investigation was announced after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi condemned the blast and urged the Pakistani authorities to get to the bottom of the incident. A further 28 Chinese nationals were among the 36 people injured, in the worst incident so far to befall the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday in Dushanbe and called for a probe into whether it was the result of a terror attack. Pakistan has said on Wednesday that the blast occurred due to mechanical failure while Chinese Foreign Ministry immediately termed it as a bombing attack.

Wang told Qureshi that lessons should be learned from the incident, and the security measures for China-Pakistan cooperation projects should be further strengthened to ensure the safe and smooth operation of all projects.

The bus was taking workers to a Chinese-funded dam construction site at the Dasu hydroelectric project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, part of the CPEC, a 65 billion USD investment plan which aims to connect western China to the Gwadar seaport in southern Pakistan. The blast sparked an engine fire and plunged the bus into a ravine, according to media reports quoting a local official.

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