Even as lawmakers in Washington call for review of financial assistance in the wake of Osama bin Laden's killing China called on the international community to support Pakistan

China on Thursday called on the international community to continue supporting Pakistan, amid increasing criticism of the country's efforts to tackle terrorism following the killing of Osama bin Laden near a military academy.

Even as a growing number of lawmakers in Washington called for a review of the substantial financial assistance to Pakistan, China mounted a strong defence of its “all-weather” strategic ally and neighbour, describing it as being “at the forefront of international counterterrorism efforts”.

“The international community should understand and support Pakistan,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu. “We support Pakistan's position, and understand and support Pakistan formulating and implementing a counterterrorism strategy based on its own national conditions.”

She added: “We also appreciate Pakistan's active participation in international counterterrorism efforts.”

China's vote of confidence comes against a rising tide of criticism from the West. British Prime Minister David Cameron said the Pakistani government had “a lot of questions” to answer.

Ms. Jiang on Thursday did not reply to questions on whether China would step up assistance to Pakistan if the U.S. decided to scale back aid.

China is concerned that instability in Pakistan could spill over to its far western Muslim-majority Xinjiang region, where the government says Islamist terrorist groups with links to groups in neighbouring Pakistan, are operating.

“China also suffers from terrorism,” said Ms. Jiang. “Some terrorist forces are engaged in a great many violent, terrorist activities for the purpose of splitting China, and seriously threaten China's national security, and regional peace and security.

“Combating East Turkestan terrorist forces [in Xinjiang] is an important part of the international counterterrorism campaign,” she said. “The international community should step up cooperation.”

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