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Pakistani Officials Arrive In China Following Rare Diplomatic Clash

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi

Pakistan’s foreign minister and intelligence chief arrived in China for a two-day visit following a rare diplomatic clash between the two allies over the cause of a recent bus explosion that killed several Chinese workers in the South Asian nation.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed, the head of the military’s intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, arrived in Beijing on June 23.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office said the two sides would discuss defense and security cooperation, counterterrorism, and regional issues.

The visit comes after a bus explosion on July 14 killed 12 people, including nine Chinese workers, in northwestern Pakistan.

Beijing said the Chinese workers were killed in a "bomb attack" while Pakistani officials said the explosion appeared to have been caused by a gas leak.

The bus was carrying around 40 Chinese personnel to a hydropower dam construction site in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province near the border with China.

China is Islamabad's closest regional ally, but the security of Chinese workers in Pakistan has long raised concerns in Beijing.

The visit also comes amid growing concerns in the region over escalating violence in Afghanistan, where the Taliban has captured large swaths of territory ahead of the departure of all foreign troops by August 31.

With reporting by Dawn