BEIJING: China said on Thursday it will do all it can to ensure the safe return of two citizens kidnapped in Quetta promising new measures to protect Chinese people and companies working in Pakistan, an important link on its Silk Road infrastructure plan.
Gunmen pretending to be policemen kidnapped two Chinese language teachers in Balochistan’s capital on Wednesday.
“China will continue to make maximal efforts alongside Pakistan to strive for the safe return of the kidnapped individuals as soon as possible,” foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told a regular briefing in Beijing.
“We will also take further actions to ensure the safety of Chinese individuals and organisations in Pakistan,” he added.
China has pledged to invest $57 billion in new rail, road and power infrastructure across Pakistan as a flagship project within its sweeping Belt and Road initiative to tie Asia to Europe and Africa by reviving ancient Silk Road trade routes.
Chinese officials have repeatedly urged Islamabad to strengthen security for its companies and nationals, especially in resource-rich Balochistan, where China is building a port and funding roads to link its western regions with the Arabian Sea.
No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.
The China National Radio state broadcaster reported that three Chinese citizens, two women and a man, were eating in a restaurant in Quetta when gunmen came in and dragged them towards a car without licence plates.
A crowd formed around the kidnappers who then fired warning shots into the air. One of the Chinese woman then escaped, the broadcaster said, citing a witness.
Police in Quetta told media the teachers did not work on Beijing-funded China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects as they did not have guards.
Police and forces provide security for all Chinese workers on CPEC projects in Balochistan.