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Xi Skips Meet With Sharif After Murder of Two Chinese Teachers in Pakistan

Updated: June 10, 2017, 9:56 PM IST
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Xi Skips Meet With Sharif After Murder of Two Chinese Teachers in Pakistan
File photo of Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Photo: AP)

Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping skipped a customary meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Astana after the murder of two Chinese teachers in Balochistan.

This was a rare snub as Pakistan is seen as a close ally of China.

Sharif met Presidents of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Russia on the sidelines of the SCO meet. However, there was no meeting with the Chinese president, PTI reported.

Chinese state-run media highlighted Xi's meetings with Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A Pakistani man injured during kidnapping of two Chinese language teachers by unidentified gunmen lies on a hospital bed in Quetta (in Pakistan) on May 24, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Naseer Ahmed)

Xi's unprecedented snub followed deep disappointment and grief among the Chinese public over the killing of the two Chinese citizens who were kidnapped last month from Quetta in Balochistan.

The two teachers were brutally murdered, reportedly by Islamic State militants. The news of their murders was made public ahead of the SCO summit held on June 8-9 in which India and Pakistan were admitted as members.

On Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying explained that the murders were in no way connected to the USD 50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which was opposed by the Baloch nationalists.

The CPEC is part of China's ambitious multi-billion Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

"This incident will not have any necessary connection with the BRI or with the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, being held in Astana," Hua had said.

China has deployed hundreds of Chinese workers to work for the CPEC which connects Gwadar port in Balochistan with China's Xinjiang through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Hua said Pakistan pays great attention to the protection of Chinese citizens in the institutions there and made great efforts for their security.

"As per BRI we should be prepared for risks if we want to go global," she had said.

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: June 10, 2017, 7:31 PM IST
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