ISLAMABAD: The foreign ministers of Pakistan and China on Saturday vowed joint efforts for the security of Beijing-sponsored infrastructure and development projects in Pakistan, after nine Chinese workers were killed in the country's northwest last week.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, made the statement as the Pakistani foreign minister is in China on a two-day visit that started on Friday.
While the Pakistani foreign office said the visit is part of regular high-level exchanges between the longtime allies, it comes after the Chinese workers employed at the Dasu Hydropower Project were killed in a bus explosion in Pakistan's northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The Dasu project is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a $65 billion investment plan aiming to link Pakistan's southwestern deep-sea port of Gwadar with the Chinese autonomous region of Xinjiang.
China had initially called it a bomb attack but backed away from the assertion after Pakistan stated it was an accident. Later Beijing sent a team to help investigate the matter jointly with Pakistani authorities.
"Both sides expressed their firm resolve to expose the culprits and their reprehensible designs through the ongoing joint investigation, give exemplary punishment to the perpetrators, ensure comprehensive safety and security of the Chinese projects, nationals and institutions, and prevent recurrence of such incidents," Qureshi and Yi said in a joint statement.
As the ministers reiterated their support for each other's "core national interests," they said "the two sides will continue to firmly advance the construction of CPEC."
Pakistan expressed its commitment to the "one China" policy of Beijing, which sees Taiwan as its province, and support to China over other disputed territories.
"Pakistani side also expressed its firm support to China on core issues of its national interest, such as Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong and South China Sea." the statement said.
This year, Pakistan and China are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with more than 100 celebratory events, which the ministers said are "demonstrating warmth and deep sentiments of their unshakable fraternal bonds."