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China says shocked over Pulwama attack, but won’t list Jaish chief Masood Azhar as terrorist in UN

“JeM has been included in the Security Council terrorism sanctions list. China will continue to handle the relevant sanctions issue in a constructive and responsible manner,” Geng Shuang said in an apparent reference to External Affairs Ministry’s appeal to all members of the UN Security Council to list Azhar as a global terrorist.

india Updated: Feb 15, 2019 17:24 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Beijing
china,UN,geng shuang
Nearly 40 CRPF personnel were killed on Thursday in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) suicide bomber rammed a car packed with explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.(AFP)

China on Friday declined to back India’s appeal to designate the Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad’s (JeM) leader Masood Azhar as a terrorist by the UN, a day after the group claimed responsibility of carrying out the worst attack on Indian forces in Kashmir.

China’s foreign ministry condemned the attack – among the last major countries to do so – on Friday in strong terms but gave clear indications that it will not allow Azhar to be designated as a terrorist.

China had earlier indicated that New Delhi didn’t share enough evidence against Azhar to list him a terrorist at the UN. The CRPF has confirmed 38 deaths in the suicide bombing, counted among the bloodiest in Kashmir. Initial reports, quoting security officials, had said 44 jawans were feared to have been killed in the attack.

Also read | Russia, Pakistan, US, others condemn Kashmir attack

“China has noted the reports of suicide terrorist attack. We are deeply shocked by this attack. We express deep condolences and sympathy to the injured and bereaved families,” foreign ministry spokesperson, Geng Shuang said at the regular ministry briefing on Friday.

Watch | Pulwama attack: Rajnath Singh helps carry coffin of CRPF jawan in Kashmir

“We firmly oppose and strongly condemn all forms of terrorism. We hope relevant regional countries will cooperate to cope with the threat of terrorism and jointly uphold regional peace and stability,” Geng said.

When asked about China’s stand on the listing of Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN Security Council, Geng repeated what he and his MFA colleagues have said many times before that UN protocols were being followed in this particular case.

Between the lines, the message is clear: Beijing will not allow Islamabad to be humiliated in a multilateral forum

Also read | ’Involvement of JeM in attack raises questions on role of ISI’: US expert

“As for the issue of listing, I could tell you that the 1267 Committee of Security Council has a clear stipulation on the listing and procedure of the terrorist organisations”.

“JeM has been included in the Security Council terrorism sanctions list. China will continue to handle the relevant sanctions issue in a constructive and responsible manner,” Geng said in an apparent reference to ministry of external affairs’ appeal to all members of the UN Security Council to list Azhar as a global terrorist.

China, a veto-wielding member of the UNSC and a close ally of Pakistan, has repeatedly foiled India’s bid to list Azhar as a global terrorist, saying there is no consensus in the top organ of the world body on this issue.

The listing of Azhar was a major concern that India had conveyed to China during a landmark bilateral meeting on security held between the two countries in New Delhi last October.

The agreement was signed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and China’s State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi

During the meeting, Beijing and New Delhi had signed a first-ever agreement on security cooperation to strengthen bilateral cooperation in counter-terrorism, organised crimes, drug control, human trafficking and exchanging information.

“In the counter-terrorism issue, China has always actively participated in international anti-terrorist operations. We have always made our decisions and judgments on the merits of the matter itself. We will continue to step up the security cooperation to uphold the regional peace and stability with parties,” MFA spokesperson, Hua Chunying had then said.

First Published: Feb 15, 2019 13:35 IST