China asks US to act ‘cautiously’ after its push to ban Masood Azhar at UN
Asked about the development, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing that Washington move only complicates the issue.
China on Thursday said the US has complicated the issue of listing Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by moving a separate resolution at the UN Security Council (UNSC), bypassing the anti-terror committee in the UN itself where Beijing has repeatedly blocked the listing process.
Beijing’s sharp reaction came after the US, supported by France and the UK, moved a draft resolution at the UNSC to list the Pakistan-based terror group’s chief.
Asked about the development at Thursday’s ministry briefing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said Washington’s move complicates the issue.
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“This is not in line with the resolution of the issue through dialogue and negotiations. This has reduced the authority of the Committee as a main anti-terrorism body of the UNSC and this is not conducive to the solidarity and only complicates the issue,” the spokesperson said.
As recently as on March 13, Beijing had put a “technical hold” on a US, UK, and France-backed resolution to list Azhar as a global terrorist at the 1267 sanctions committee focussed on anti-terrorism.
After blocking the move for the fourth time, Beijing said it wanted more time to study the matter of listing Azhar.
The new resolution moved by the US directly at the UNSC could force Beijing to “veto” the move – if it wants to stop Azhar from being listed -- instead of taking the more diplomatic way of putting a “technical hold”, the reasons for which aren’t made public.
Azhar’s JeM claimed responsibility of the Pulwama suicide attack in February, the worst such attack in Kashmir.
The international community has supported India’s calls to list Azhar as a global terrorist, which will subject him to travel ban and asset freeze.
Beijing snapped at the US move, saying it undermines the authority of the 1267 committee and complicates the issue.
“We urge the US to act cautiously and avoid forcefully moving forward this resolution draft,” Geng said.
“Since China needs more time to conduct an in-depth and comprehensive review, we put forward a technical hold to the relevant listing on March 13th. This is in line with the rule of procedures of this committee and there are some precedent cases of such technical holds,” he added.
Geng couched China’s annoyance at Washington’s move by saying the matter is “complex”.
“The listing of Masood involves a series of complex factors and China has also been working to seek proper solutions through dialogue and consensus. The Security Council should act in a prudent way to play a constructive role and create necessary time and space for the relevant parties to conduct dialogue and negotiations,” he said.
China’s repeated blocking of Azhar has been interpreted not the least to be dictated by its all-weather strategic partnership with Pakistan.
Foreign ministry spokesperson, Lu Kang had then said that China had conducted a “comprehensive and thorough evaluation” but still needed more time to consider the proposal.
China had previously prevented the committee from sanctioning Azhar in 2016 and 2017.