China said on Monday that it was the “obligation” of any country to protect diplomatic personnel and overseas missions, a day after it emerged that Beijing had asked Pakistan to increase security for its envoy in Islamabad.
Reports in Pakistan said the Chinese Embassy there had sent a letter to the Interior Ministry asking for increased security for recently appointed envoy Yao Jing. The letter, reports said, had detailed a specific security threat, identifying a terrorist named Abdul Wali who had recently crossed over into Pakistan. Wali was said to be with the banned East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which has been behind attacks in China’s western Xinjiang region. The letter had reportedly demanded “immediate action” to hand over Wali to China.
While not commenting directly on the case, the Foreign Ministry in Beijing said on Monday that it was the “obligation” of any host country to ensure safety of diplomatic personnel.
“I am not aware of the information mentioned by you,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said. “The ETIM is a terrorist organisation listed by the United Nations Security Council. Combating ETIM is an important part of international counter-terrorism efforts.”
“I think it is the obligation of a sovereign country to protect diplomatic missions and personnel according to the Vienna Convention,” Geng added.
China’s reported concerns come as it goes forward with massive investments in Pakistan under its $46 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor plan, with thousands of Chinese workers and personnel set to move to Pakistan to push forward projects there.
Last week, at least 38 people were injured in twin attacks in Balochistan province, including one grenade attack on a workers’ hostel that injured 26 in Gwadar, the port city that is a centre of China’s CPEC plan and where China is building an economic and logistics zone.