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China reassures Pakistan after BRICS statement on terrorism

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

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Wang Yi says Islamabad has done its best to counter terror “with a clear conscience.”

After agreeing to list Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) as international terror groupings during this week’s BRICS summit, China on Friday re-assured Pakistan that there was no shift in its policy of recognising Islamabad’s role in countering global extremism.

During a press conference with his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Asif, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed that Beijing saw Pakistan as a close ally which was a key part of the solution to defeat international terrorism.

‘Good brother and iron friend’

Mr. Wang embarked on a post-BRICS balancing act when he praised Pakistan as Beijing’s “good brother and iron friend”.

“For years, Pakistan has been a victim of terrorism. More importantly, Pakistan is an important participant in the international cooperation against terrorism.”

He added: “When it comes to the issue of counter-terrorism, Pakistan has done its best with a clear conscience. In comparison, some countries need to give Pakistan the full credit that it deserves.”

‘Friends should not be tested’

Ahead of his visit, and following the statement at the BRICS summit, Mr. Asif had told geo-news , in reference to China’s decision to endorse a ban on the JeM and LeT during the BRICS summit that “friends should not be tested [every time], particularly in the changed scenario.”

“Instead, we should impose some restrictions on the activities of elements like LeT and JeM, so that we can show the global community that we have put our house in order,” he observed

Much of the press conference was devoted to the joint role of Beijing, Islamabad and Kabul, for ensuring durable peace in Afghanistan.

“China’s crucial role”

Mr. Asif said that China had played a crucial role in bringing Pakistan and Afghanistan together. “To support that initiative Pakistan has already undertaken many steps and will pursue those steps for improving relationship with Kabul.”

The visiting Foreign Minister underscored that Islamabad is working on “a substantive and robust engagement with the Kabul… [at the] political level, security level, military level, intelligence level.”

Mr. Asif said that he would be meeting his Afghan counterpart on the sidelines of the upcoming UN General Assembly session in New York.

Escalating engagement with Kabul

The Chinese have escalated their engagement with Kabul, especially after the collapse of the four-party talks involving the United States, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan. In June Mr. Wang had visited Kabul and Islamabad to reinforce a Beijing driven initiative in Afghanistan. During that visit, “Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed that they are building up a new mechanism of crisis management, including information sharing and intelligence cooperation. China supports these kind of bilateral efforts,” said Hu Shisheng, Director of the Institute of South and Southeast Asian and Oceanian Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, in a conversation with The Hindu.

At the Friday press conference, the Chinese Foreign Minister said that Beijing was “exploring” hosting a China-Pakistan-Afghanistan conference later this year. “I want to let you know that with the communication between the three parties, there is initial progress in trilateral cooperation. Before the end of this year there would be the first China, Pakistan, Afghanistan Foreign Ministers meeting in China.”

Mr. Wang said that “strategic communication, security dialogue and practical cooperation” would be the pillars of the new platform for regional cooperation.

Referring to the trilateral proposal, Dr. Hu said that, “The significance is that with this kind of mechanism, China will do its best to stabilise the bilateral relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

From China, Mr. Asif will travel to Iran on the second leg of his visit.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 2:02:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/china-reassures-pakistan-after-brics-statement-on-terrorism/article19645336.ece

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