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China: Beijing postpones CPEC meeting after death of 9 Chinese nationals in Pak bus blast

News Agencies | Updated on: 16 July 2021, 9:34 IST
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After the death of 9 Chinese nationals following a massive blast on a bus in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province, Beijing has postponed the important meeting of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that was scheduled to be held on Friday.

Major General Asim Bajwa, the head of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and former spokesperson of the Pakistan Army, in a tweet informed that the meeting would be now be held after Eid.

"JCC-10 meeting on #CPEC which was scheduled to be held on 16th July 21, has been postponed to a later date after Eid. A fresh date will be shared as finalised. Meanwhile, preparations continue," he tweeted.

The incident took place on July 14 in the Dasu area of Upper Kohistan district of the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where Chinese engineers and construction workers are helping Pakistan build a dam, which is part of the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Meanwhile, China has decided to step in to assist its ally to probe the matter.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Thursday announced that the country is set to send a cross-department work group to assist Pakistan on the case, Global Times reported.

At least 13 people, including nine Chinese nationals and two frontier corps soldiers, died and 39 others injured when the bus carrying Chinese engineers and workers to the site of the under-construction Dassu Dam exploded. The bus fell into a deep ravine after the explosion.

The explosion in the bus has shocked Beijing, considering the number of Chinese casualties.

It also resulted in confusion and rare differing views aired in public by the two all-weather allies.

Pakistan federal minister for information and broadcasting Fawad Ahmed Chaudhry yesterday tweeted: "Initial investigations into the Dassu [Dasu] incident have now confirmed traces of explosives. Terrorism cannot be ruled out, and the PM is personally supervising all developments. In this regard, the government is in close coordination with the Chinese embassy, and we are committed to fighting the menace of terrorism together."

However, hours later the incident, the Pakistani foreign ministry issued a statement, calling the incident an accident caused by a mechanical failure, resulting in a gas leak that triggered the explosion.

Night of July 16, the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong visited the injured in the hospital. Nong also urged that the truth of the incident be found, and he called for severe punishment for anyone responsible.


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First published: 16 July 2021, 9:32 IST