China, U.S. lock horns over Masood Azhar

JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar   | Photo Credit: Reuters

China on Monday said it was making “some positive progress” to resolve differences on listing Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, and rejected Washington’s alternative move to ban the head of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) through a resolution at the UN Security Council.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang asserted on Monday that the UN 1267 committee should be the sole forum where Azhar’s listing should be discussed.

“After the application of designation was proposed at the (1267) committee, China has been in close communication and coordination with various parties,” Mr. Geng said.

He added: “As I said we have been working with various parties and (our efforts) has made some positive progress. The U.S. knows that very well.”

The friction between China and the U.S. sharpened after Washington, along with France and the United Kingdom, piloted a resolution in the 1267 committee for listing Azhar, following the February attack in Pulwama in which more than 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

China placed a “technical hold” on the listing despite Pakistan-based JeM, which Azhar heads, taking responsibility for the attack. Following China’s move in the 1267 committee, the U.S. sponsored a resolution in the Security Council seeking Azhar’s ban.

“We believe that in the current circumstances, forcing a resolution at the Security Council not a constructive move and is setting a bad example,” Mr. Geng observed.

The Chinese foreign ministry pointed out that the U.S. was failing in its bid to muster majority support in the UNSC, and urged Washington to return to the 1267 committee to resolve the issue.

“We hope various parties will meet each other halfway and continue to properly solve the issues under the 1267 UN committee framework. Last Friday, the UN Security Council members exchanged views on the U.S.-proposed draft resolution and the majority believes that efforts should be made under the framework of 1267 committee and solve the issue through dialogue and consultations,” Mr. Geng said.

The spokesperson stressed that the majority of the UNSC “are not in favour of forcing a draft resolution.”

“China has been working with various parties and is making progress. The U.S. knows that very well. But under such circumstances, the U.S. is still pushing the Security Council to adopt a draft resolution. This cannot be justified.”

China has emphasised that the purpose of its “technical hold” is to allow more discussion on the issue in order to achieve a consensus based settlement.

The spokesperson pointed out that the Washington’s stance “will only complicate the issue and is not conducive to peace and stability in South Asia.”

Last week, China had slammed remarks by U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who had accused the country of “shameful hypocrisy.” With China’s alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and the designation of Azhar as the subtext, Mr. Pompeo said that, “China abuses more than a million Muslims at home, but on the other it protects violent Islamic terrorist groups from sanctions at the UN.”

On Friday, Beijing had dismissed allegations that it was sheltering terrorists by placing a “technical hold” on listing Masood Azhar. In response to another question on Monday whether the US moves were linked to elections in India, Mr. Geng, declined comment as the query, he said, was related to India’s “domestic affairs.”

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2021 11:17:28 PM |

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