Security concerns over its economic corridor passing through Pakistan were played down by China on Friday, even after it emerged that Islamic State group had killed the two Chinese nationals in Balochistan, reported the Hindustan Times. A Chinese man and a woman, studying Urdu at a local teaching centre in the provincial town of Quetta, were kidnapped by gunmen in the last week of May. A third Chinese national had escaped the abduction, reported PTI.

The Islamic State group on Thursday had uploaded a statement on Amaq, its propaganda news agency, claiming to have killed the Chinese nationals.

Confirming the report, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, “According to information from Pakistan, they [the two] may have already been unfortunately killed.” Hua said the two Chinese nationals were not married and belonged to two different provinces.

Hundreds of workers from China have been deployed to work for the $50-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is being opposed by Baloch nationalists. Hua said Pakistan makes great efforts towards the protection and security of Chinese citizens.

“We strongly condemn all forms of terrorism and support Pakistan in its fight (against terrorism) and for peace and tranquillity in the region and beyond,” Hua added.

She said that such risks were unavoidable and the incident would not have any impact on the security of projects being constructed under CPEC.

She also said the incident will not have any connection with the Belt and Road Initiative, nor with the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting being held in Astana.