Beijing [China]: China on Wednesday lifted its objections against the United Nations’ blacklisting of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar, saying that it will “continue to firmly support Pakistan’s efforts to combat terrorist and extremist forces.”
In a statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Geng Shuang, said, “The 1267 Committee of the UN Security Council has detailed criteria for the listing procedures. China always believes that the relevant work should be carried out in an objective, unbiased and professional manner and based on solid evidence and consensus among all parties.”
“On this listing issue, China has been communicating with relevant parties in a constructive and responsible fashion. Recently, relevant countries revised and re-submitted the materials for the listing proposal to the 1267 Committee. After careful study of the revised materials and taking into consideration the opinions of relevant parties concerned, China does not have an objection to the listing proposal,” the statement read.
“The proper settlement of the above-mentioned issue again shows that in international counter-terrorism cooperation, we have to uphold the rules and procedures of relevant UN body, follow the principle of mutual respect, resolve differences and build consensus through dialogue, and prevent politicising technical issues,” the statement noted.
“I would like to stress that Pakistan has made enormous contributions to fighting terrorism, which deserves the full recognition of the international community. China will continue to firmly support Pakistan’s efforts to combat terrorist and extremist forces,” it added.
Today’s decision proves to be a major diplomatic victory for India who has been relentlessly pleading for several years for sanctioning Azhar, head of the terrorist group responsible, notably, for the Pulwama attack on February 14, which killed 40 CPRF personnel in South Kashmir.
India thanked various countries including the US, UK and said it was a good day for all those who support zero tolerance against terrorism.
India’s Permanent Representative at the UN, Syed Akbaruddin, said that the process moved smoothly and in accordance with India’s agreed understandings.
The UN action comes a day after China called for “political consultation within the framework of 1267 Committee” to “properly resolve” the issue pertaining to the listing of Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN.
A global terrorist tag under the UN’s 1267 committee would lead to a freeze on Azhar’s assets and a ban on his travel and constraints on possessing weapons, similarly to the Al Qaida and ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant)
China also underlined that “positive progress” has been made in the issue so far.
The issue gathered momentum last week with the visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to Beijing to attend China’s second Belt and Road Forum held from April 25-27.
On March 13, China, for the fourth time, had blocked a proposal by the US, the UK, and France, among others, to enlist Azhar as a global terrorist before the UNSC committee.
Beijing had defended its technical block on Azhar’s listing, saying it needed “more time” as it is “conducting a comprehensive and in-depth review” on the listing request put forth by the countries.
Following this, India had expressed its disappointment with China’s move to put a hold, and the United States had also said that the failure to designate Azhar as a global terrorist “runs counter” to Washington and Beijing’s goal of regional stability and peace.
An official statement issued by the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs following Khan’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday said that the Chinese President had expressed hope that Pakistan and India can meet each other halfway and improve their relations, especially after the general elections end in India.