China on Monday said the safety of the diplomatic personnel and missions is an obligation of the sovereign countries but declined to comment on its reported complaint to Pakistan that its ambassador to Islamabad faced threats from a Xinjiang-based terror group. China reportedly asked Pakistan to step up the security of its newly-appointed ambassador in Islamabad in the wake of threats to his life from the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), according to reports.
The Chinese embassy made the request in a letter written to Pakistan’s interior ministry on October 19, saying a member of the ETIM has sneaked into Pakistan to assassinate its ambassador Yao Jing.
The letter, circulated in the local media in Pakistan, was written by the focal person for the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Ping Ying Fi who asked the interior ministry to “enhance the security” of the ambassador and other Chinese working in the country.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang when asked about the report said, “I am not aware of the information mentioned by you. The ETIM is a UN Security Council listed terrorist organisation.
Combating ETIM is an important part of the international counter terrorism efforts, Geng said.
China alleges that the ETIM, an Al-Qaeda linked group fighting for the separation of Uygur Muslim majority Xinjiang province, was responsible for a host of terrorist attacks in the province and the country. Xinjiang borders Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Asked whether the Chinese government expressed concern to Pakistan about the safety of the diplomatic personnel, Geng said the safety of the diplomatic personnel and missions is an obligation of the sovereign countries according to the Vienna Convention.
China has appointed Yao, who has served as Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan, as its new envoy to Pakistan. Yao replaced Sun Weidong, who served as China’s Ambassador to Pakistan for three years and recently returned to his country.