China to continue opposing UN ban on Masood Azhar, says position ‘unchanged’

Hindustan Times | BySutirtho Patranobis, Beijing
Dec 12, 2016 05:01 PM IST

China has said its policy on Pakistan-based terrorist Masood Azhar hasn’t changed, indicating it will continue to block India’s efforts to get the JeM chief sanctioned by the UN.

China said on Monday its policy on Pakistan-based terrorist Masood Azhar hasn’t changed, indicating it will continue to block India’s efforts to get the JeM chief sanctioned by the UN when the matter comes up for hearing this month.

Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar.(AFP File)
Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar.(AFP File)

Answering a query on India-China relations, foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said that “on the listing issue (under UN Security Council Resolution 1267) China’s position remains unchanged”.

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Geng indicated China’s position on India’s entry to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) hadn’t changed either.

“As two major developing countries, it is only natural for us not to see eye-to-eye on every issue,” he told a news briefing. China is willing to work with India to “expand bilateral mutually beneficial cooperation to reduce differences”, he said.

Read | China again blocks UN ban on Masood Azhar over ‘different views’

“As for India’s application to the NSG and the listing issue with regard to article 1267, China’s position remains unchanged,” Geng said.

China extended the “technical hold” or used its UN Security Council veto against Azhar’s banning in October, which was the second time since April.

It also said earlier that the UN committee dealing with sanctions was acting according to provisions of the UN charter, and this panel should work on true facts and make a decision according to the consensus of its members.

The foreign ministry had also said an application submitted to the 1267 Committee “must comply” with specific requirements of relevant resolutions.

On NSG, Geng’s statement means China will continue to oppose India’s joining till a consensus emerges on allowing in countries that have not signed the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

India’s bid to join the NSG in June was backed by the US and France but faltered after China, South Africa, New Zealand and Austria opposed the application. Beijing and its allies say only countries that have signed a global arms control pact – the NPT – will be allowed entry. India refuses to sign the pact because it would mean shutting down the country’s nuclear defence programme.

China’s opposition was seen in India as support for its ally Pakistan, which applied for an NSG membership soon after New Delhi announced its bid.

Geng said both countries continue to be “in communication on relevant issues”. He added, “Thanks to concerted efforts of China and India, strategic partnership of cooperation between the two sides made all-around progress. The two sides are moving towards establishing a more close strategic partnership for cooperation.”

Read | PM Modi nudges China on Masood Azhar ban, NSG bid ahead of BRICS Summit

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