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Two Chinese mountaineers die in Pakistan terror attack


08:54, June 25, 2013

BEIJING, June 24 (Xinhua) -- Two Chinese mountaineers were among the victims killed in a pre-dawn terror attack in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Sunday.

Chinese nationals Yang Chunfeng and Rao Jianfeng, and Chinese-American Chen Honglu were three of 11 people who were killed in the attack, the Shenzhen-based Jingbao newspaper reported Monday.

The Chinese Mountaineering Association on Monday confirmed that a four-member mountaineering team from China were attacked by "militants" at a base camp at the feet of Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world.

Three of them died at the scene and one survived, said a statement published on the association's official website, which did not reveal the mountaineers' identities.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Monday the families of the victims of the violent attack in Pakistan have arrived in Islamabad.

The remains of the victims have been transported to Islamabad and the survivor now stays at the Chinese embassy, she said.

"The ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan launched an emergency response mechanism to deal with the issue immediately after the incident," Hua told a regular press briefing when she was asked for information on the attack.

The embassy has asked Pakistan to offer assistance to the Chinese side in managing the aftermath, apprehend the gunmen as soon as possible and take measures to guarantee the safety and legitimate rights of Chinese citizens in Pakistan, she said.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistani government have expressed their sorrow over the deaths of the Chinese nationals and extended their condolences to the bereaved families as well as the survivor, she added.

The Shenzhen newspaper reported that Zhang Jingchuan, the 42-year-old survivor, had managed to untie himself, fled the scene and hid in a gully after being seized by the armed men. He later used a satellite phone asking for help from China.

Zhang informed the death of Yang Chunfeng, a famed mountaineer from Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, to the Urumqi Mountaineering Association on Sunday morning, asking them to contact the Chinese embassy in Pakistan, according to the newspaper.

Jundallah, a fraction of Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the massacre that claimed the lives of ten foreigners and one local tourist guide.

Pakistani Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan had told media that identities of four foreign tourists were determined and they include two Chinese nationals, one Chinese American and one Nepalese, adding that the nationality of the remaining six are yet to be determined.

Earlier, the minister said that five Ukrainians were also killed in the attack.

Yang, 45, started mountaineering in 1998. Rao Jianfeng, 49, a former real estate developer in the southern city of Shenzhen, started mountaineering in 2001.

Yang, together with Rao and Zhang, reached the top of Mount Qogir (K2), the second highest peak in the world, on July 31, 2012.

Rao had climbed to the top of 10 of the 14 highest mountain peaks in the world. He climbed to the top of Mount Qomolangma (Mount Everest) in May 2006.

Yang was the first person from Xinjiang to make it to the top of Mount Qomolangma in May 2007. He is also the only Chinese civilian mountaineer to make it to the top of 11 of the 14 highest mountain peaks in the world.

"Although Yang passed away, his great spirit of exploration will never end," said Yang Jun, head of Xinjiang Shanyou Mountain Rescue Team.

The official microblog of the information office of the Xinjiang regional government, on the Twitter-like, paid tribute to Yang on Sunday.

"You are the great son of Xinjiang. We are proud of you," it said.

(Additional reporting by Jamil Bhatti in Islamabad)

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