China asks Pakistan to ensure safety of its nationals

Condemning the kidnapping of a Chinese couple from Jinnah Town area of Quetta, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the authorities from the two countries are working together to rescue them.

Beijing: China on Thursday asked Pakistan to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of its nationals and institutions in the country, a day after two of its nationals were kidnapped by gunmen in the restive Balochistan province.

Condemning the kidnapping of a Chinese couple from Jinnah Town area of Quetta, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the authorities from the two countries are working together to rescue them.

"Chinese government attaches great importance to the safety and security of Chinese nationals overseas. We denounce abduction in all its forms," Lu told a media briefing.

"The Chinese government has maintained close communication with Pakistan since the abduction took place and urged Pakistan to take all necessary measures to secure the early release of the hostages," Lu said.

He said China called on Pakistan to take further steps to ensure the safety and security of Chinese nationals and institutions in Pakistan.

"The Chinese government will work with the Pakistani side to spare no efforts to rescue the two nationals at an early date," he said.

The couple who were teaching Chinese in Pakistan were allegedly kidnapped by gunmen yesterday in Quetta, raising concerns in Beijing over the security situation in Pakistan amid China's massive investment push in the country.

The gunmen dressed as police stopped the couple's car and shot and wounded a man who intervened after he rescued a third person who was in the car, according to Pakistani police and China's official Xinhua news agency.

No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping yet.

Chinese interest in Balochistan has spiked in recent years after the announcement of the USD 50 billion China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which plans to connect the Pakistani port of Gwadar to Xinjiang in China.

In the past, China has asked Islamabad to improve security, especially in Balochistan, where it is building the Gwadar Port and funding roads as part of the CPEC.

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