China has already faced terrorist threats in Pakistan. In 2018, three suicide bombers stormed the Chinese consulate in Karachi, killing two police officers and two civilians before being killed themselves. The group that claimed responsibility for the attack, the Balochistan Liberation Army, attacked a luxury hotel in Gwadar a year later, claiming it was targeting Chinese customers.
In April, another group attacked a hotel in Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, moments before the expected arrival of the Chinese ambassador. While it is not clear whether the attackers were aware of the ambassador’s arrival, the group that claimed responsibility, the Pakistani Taliban, or Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, said their intended targets were “Locals and foreigners” staying at the hotel.
After speaking with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister about the blast on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Wang called for tougher security measures for Chinese construction projects in Pakistan, many of them are built as part of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.
Chinese authorities have offered to expand these projects to Afghanistan, but have made little progress. Previous Chinese projects there have fallen short of expectations, including a copper mining concession that Chinese companies acquired in 2007.
“If it is a terrorist attack,” Wang said of Wednesday’s episode, “the perpetrators should be arrested immediately and the perpetrators should be severely punished.”
Salman Massoud contributed to Islamabad reporting, and Benjamin Novak de Budapest. Claire Fu contributed research.