Paramilitary policemen seal off the road leading to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing Thursday, July 26, 2018. Eyewitnesses say online a fire or possible explosion has taken place outside the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. (Source: PTI) 

Bomb Detonated Outside U.S. Embassy in Beijing

(Bloomberg) -- China played down the significance of a blast outside the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on Thursday, calling it an “isolated” incident.

A 26-year-old man from China’s northern region of Inner Mongolia detonated an explosive device around 1 p.m., the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau said on its official Weibo social media account. The man was being treated in a hospital for a non-life-threatening injury, the police said.

“Other than the bomber, no other people were injured and there was no damage to embassy property,” a U.S. Embassy spokesperson said in a statement.

Bomb Detonated Outside U.S. Embassy in Beijing

The explosion occurred at the southeast corner of the American compound, near the visa-processing entrance at the intersection of Tianze and Anjialou roads. Several nations have have their embassies in the immediate area, including India and South Korea. By 3 p.m., visa-seekers had returned to the line.

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang said the case had been properly handled by local police. “It is an isolated case of public security,” Geng said.

Tensions between China and the U.S. have been running high in recent weeks as the two sides spar over everything from U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade war to increased military ties with Taiwan.

Chinese dissidents have over the years attempted to set themselves on fire or engage in other violent acts, including a petitioner who injured himself while detonating a bomb at Beijing’s international airport in July 2013. Later that year, three members of the Uighur ethnic minority killed themselves and two bystanders after driving into a crowd in Tiananmen Square.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Peter Martin in Beijing at pmartin138@bloomberg.net;David Ramli in Beijing at dramli1@bloomberg.net

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

With assistance from Editorial Board