Extracts from Foreign Ministry Spokesperson’s Regular Press Conference
China Daily: Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release that “a bus carrying Chinese workers in Khyber Pakhunkhwa Province, plunged into a ravine after a mechanical failure resulting in leakage of gas that caused a blast. Further investigations are underway”. The Pakistani side also extended “sincere condolences to the families of Chinese and Pakistani workers who lost their lives in the incident”. Do you have any comment? Can you update us on the investigation and Chinese casualties?
Zhao Lijian: China was astonished to learn that the incident has caused heavy Chinese casualties. The CPC and the Chinese government attaches high importance to this. Party and state leaders made important instructions right away. We must spare no effort to rescue the injured, properly attend to follow-up matters for the injured and deceased, promptly find out what happened, conduct in-depth assessment of security risks, and do our utmost to ensure the safety of Chinese personnel. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan activated the emergency response mechanism, kept in close contact with the Pakistani side in both Beijing and Islamabad, and engaged fully in dealing with the emergency. We have asked the Pakistani side to lose no time in conducting a thorough investigation, properly transfer and treat the wounded, strengthen security measures, eliminate security risks, and ensure the safety and security of Chinese personnel, institutions and projects in Pakistan. The Pakistani side has expressed sympathy and condolences in various channels and pledged to do everything possible to rescue the injured and handle follow-up matters to ensure the safety and security of Chinese personnel, institutions and projects in Pakistan. On the same night of July 14, the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan and Pakistan’s foreign secretary visited the injured in hospital and conveyed the sympathy and care of leaders from both sides. Today China will send out a cross-departmental joint working group to Pakistan to help with relevant work.
Reuters: The Chinese Embassy in Pakistan confirmed casualties. And yesterday we heard that the incident was a bomb attack. However, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said later that mechanical failure caused the gas leak and a blast. What is China’s position on what actually happened? Was it an attack or an accident? Also, is China satisfied with the level of protection that Pakistan is offering Chinese citizens in the country?
Zhao Lijian: We noted the press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan. The incident is still being handled and investigated. China will work in close collaboration with Pakistan to investigate the incident.
China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners with unbreakable traditional friendship and political mutual trust. The two sides will follow the important consensus reached by our leaders, take the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year as an opportunity to maintain close communication and deepen strategic mutual trust, firmly support each other’s core interests and major concerns, promote the high quality development of the CPEC, jointly fight COVID-19 and elevate bilateral relations to a new height to deliver greater benefits to both peoples and inject fresh impetus into developing a new type of international relations and building a community with a shared future for mankind.
The Pakistani side has said it places great emphasis on and will continue to take concrete measures to effectively protect the safety and security of Chinese personnel, institutions and projects in Pakistan. We appreciate this. The Chinese side will work together with Pakistan to strengthen security measures for bilateral cooperation projects and ensure the safety and security of all Chinese personnel, institutions and projects in Pakistan.