The Chinese embassy and a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry initially described the explosion as a bombing, but then changed their statements to leave open the possibility of an accident. The embassy statement called for a full investigation and warned Chinese citizens in Pakistan to be vigilant and only go out when necessary.
The Dasu hydroelectric project is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a global effort to invest in infrastructure of even greater scope than the Marshall Plan, the United States’ program to rebuild the ‘Europe after World War II.
A Chinese company involved in the project, China Gezhouba Group, could not be reached for comment. A spokesperson for another, China Gansu International Corporation for Economic and Technical Cooperation, said he had no details of what happened in Dasu.
Pakistan has a complex relationship with China, which has injected billions of dollars into the country’s infrastructure projects.