Chinese team in Pakistan for bus blast probe

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Pakistan initially blamed a mechanical failure but later said traces of explosives had been found and terrorism could not be ruled out.
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Chinese investigators, accompanied by Pakistani counterparts, on Saturday visited the site of a bus explosion in which 13 people, including nine Chinese workers, were killed earlier this week, multiple sources said.

The blast in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday sent the bus hurtling over a ravine. Pakistan initially blamed a mechanical failure but later said traces of explosives had been found and terrorism could not be ruled out.

The Chinese investigators were expected to spend up to four hours at the site to study it closely, one senior Pakistani administration official told Reuters, asking to remain anonymous as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Two other senior government officials confirmed the visit. Pakistan's foreign ministry and its military's public relations wing did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Friday urged his Pakistani counterpart to hold accountable the culprits for the terrorist attack.

"The Chinese have taken it very seriously and sent a large contingent of trained investigators to find out the nature of the blast and reach the culprits," a government official closely monitoring the situation said.

He said the police, counterterrorism department and Pakistan army were collectively involved in the investigation.

"China and Pakistan will work together to find out the truth," Chinese public security minister Zhao Kezhi said after a phone call with his Pakistani counterpart. China has "sent technical experts in criminal investigation to Pakistan to assist in the investigation," he added.

He called on Islamabad to strengthen security for Chinese nationals in the country. 

The bus was carrying around 40 Chinese engineers, surveyors and mechanical staff to a hydropower dam construction site in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The Dasu hydroelectric project is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a US$65 billion investment plan aiming to link western China to the southern Pakistani port of Gwadar.

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