China considering sending boots on the ground into Pakistan to safeguard nationals after bus blast(Credit: Global Times)
China is considering sending boots on the ground in Pakistan following the killing of nine Chinese engineers in last week’s bus blast in the country’s northern district.
The Global Times tabloid affiliated with official People’s Daily wrote in a scathing editorial that "[China] will not only provide the necessary support and assistance if Pakistan's strength is insufficient, China's missiles and special forces could also directly participate in operations to eliminate threats against Chinese in Pakistan with the consent of Pakistan. We will set an example as a deterrent."
The Global Times’ furious remarks follow the killing of nine Chinese engineers, working on the Dasu hydroelectric project in northern Pakistan. The incident, seen as a major attempt to thwart the 62 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has triggered a Tsunami of responses from Beijing. A 15-member investigation team has arrived from China to investigate what appears to be a terror strike, after Pakistan initially dismissed it as an accident caused by a cylinder blast.
Pakistan’s apparent unwillingness to mount a through probe, caused Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang to speak to his Pakistani counterpart , Imran Khan, urging him to order a thorough investigation. Pakistan’s foreign minister Mahmood Qureshi has been summoned to China, where he arrived on Thursday, for discussions on the next line of action.
Work on the project site has been suspended, and to reinforce its protest, the Chinese have cancelled participation in the 10th Joint Coordination Committee—the apex body that steers projects that fall under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). CPEC is the flagship of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature mega-sized connectivity enterprise.
The Global Times editorial further signalled China’s willingness to consider deploying its forces in Pakistan. “Pakistan is a sovereign country, and the security of the Chinese people in Pakistan of course must mainly rely on Pakistan's security system. But if the situation deteriorates, China cannot completely leave it up to Pakistan. Instead, it should provide close assistance and participation.”
It added: “In some turbulent countries, we must prove that the Chinese people are not to be provoked, especially to be killed. Anyone who lays murderous hands on the Chinese is bringing destruction on himself. In a word, even though a thousand miles away, those who commit terrorist attacks on our compatriots will pay. “