BEIJING (Reuters) – China warned its citizens in Pakistan on Friday of plans for a series of imminent "terror attacks" against Chinese targets there, an unusual warning as it pours funds into infrastructure projects in a plagued country. of militancy.
Thousands of workers Chinese have gone to Pakistan after Beijing promised to spend $ 57 billion there on projects in the "Belt and Road" development plan of President Xi Jinping, which aims to link China with the Middle East and Europe.
Protecting employees of Chinese companies, as well as individual entrepreneurs who have followed the wave of investment in what is known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, has been a concern for Chinese officials.
"It is understood that the terrorists plan in the short term to launch a series of attacks against Chinese organizations and personnel in Pakistan," the Chinese Embbady in Pakistan said in a statement on its website.
The embbady warned all "organizations with Chinese investment and Chinese citizens to increase security awareness, strengthen internal precautions, reduce travel abroad as much as possible, and avoid crowded public spaces."
He also asked Chinese citizens to cooperate with the Pakistani police and army, and to notify the embbady in case of an emergency.
He did not give more details.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan could not be contacted immediately for comment.
China has always been concerned about disgruntled members of its Muslim Uighur minority in its far western region of Xinjiang who are linked with militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
At the same time, violence in the southwestern province of Balochistan in Pakistan has fueled concern for the safety of planned transport and power links from western China to the deepwater port of Gwadar in Pakistan.
The Taliban, sectarian groups linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State operate in Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, and is at the center of the "Belt and Road" initiative.
In addition, separatists have long fought against the government for a greater proportion of mineral and gas resources, and have a long history of attacks on energy and other infrastructure projects.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the killing of two Chinese masters kidnapped in Balochistan in June, prompting the Islamabad government to commit to strengthening the security of Chinese citizens.
He had already promised a military division of 15,000 troops to safeguard projects along the economic corridor.
China's security concerns abroad have grown along with its global trade footprint.
In 2016, an alleged suicide bomber rammed the doors of the Chinese embbady in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, killing the attacker and wounding at least three people.
Report by Michael Martina; Edition by Robert Birsel