Chinese nationals' killing not linked to CPEC

China is aware of reports that two Chinese nationals kidnapped in Pakistan last month had possibly engaged in illegal preaching activities in conjunction with religious groups from the Republic of Korea (ROK), a foreign ministry spokesperson said Thursday.

The two preachers were abducted by armed men who had pretended to be policemen on May 24 in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan's Baluchistan province. The abduction and murder, first announced in the Islamic State site Amaq, also indicates the inroads the group has made in Pakistan. The Chinese pair went to Quetta on the pretext of learning Urdu, but they were said to be preaching Christianity instead of studying the language.

It did not say what kind of preachers they were, nor did it say if the Korean was from North Korea or South Korea. His comments came as the two countries are grappling with the killing of two Chinese nationals by Islamic State millitants.

The kidnapping was a rare crime against Chinese nationals in Pakistan, which has long had close ties to Beijing, but it has alarmed the growing Chinese community in the country.

In 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping signed off on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), pledging to invest $57 billion in Pakistani road, rail and power infrastructure, prompting large numbers of Pakistanis to study Mandarin.

The Pakistan government, which has faced criticism in the Chinese media for not doing more to save the two Chinese nationals, will clearly have to speed up its plans for a Special Security Division to protect CPEC, raising nine army battalions and hiring about 14,000 personnel.

Zubair said Pakistan would like to increase cooperation between the two militaries and provide security for the construction of the economic corridor.

Khan ordered the databank to be "shared with all security agencies", his ministry said in a statement.

Rear Admiral Shen Hao, commanding officer of the Chinese naval fleet, said that in the joint maritime exercise, the two navies upgraded the coordinating and cooperative capabilities between their warships.

  • Leroy Wright