China has asserted that a “comprehensive and thorough” assessment is needed before blacklisting Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar and adding him to the sanctions regime of the United Nations Security Council.
The latest statement by the Chinese foreign ministry comes as the United States has stepped up pressure for blacklisting the JeM chief. The organisation – banned in Pakistan – came under increasing scrutiny after India alleged that it was involved in the February 14 Pulwama suicide attack in occupied Kashmir.
Addressing a regular press conference on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang clarified that Beijing had not vetoed the move to blacklist Azhar at the UNSC.
“We put a hold on the application and voiced a different view in the sanctions committee. It’s something completely different from a veto in the Security Council,” he stressed.
Shuang elaborated that China put a technical hold on a request to designated Azhar as a global terrorist at the UNSC 1267 Committee and sought “more time for a comprehensive and thorough assessment”.
“This is in line with the rules of procedure of the 1267 Committee and there are many such precedents. The Masood designation issue involves a series of complicated factors.”
The foreign ministry spokesperson added that Beijing had noted the willingness of relevant parties to conduct dialogue and consultation. “China has also been promoting proper settlement of the issue through dialogue.”
“Under current circumstances, the Security Council should act prudently and play a constructive role by allowing time and space for dialogue and consultation between parties concerned,” he asserted.
Shuang underscored that the US was bypassing the 1267 Committee by putting forward its draft resolution directly to the Security Council. “Such an act will do nothing to facilitate a solution through consultation and will only lead to further complication of the issue.”
He further criticised the US and said that it “undermined the authority of the 1267 Committee as a main counter-terrorism agency at the Security Council and is not conducive to upholding the unity of the Security Council.”
Beijing urged the US to “respect the will and efforts of parties to the issue and observe traditions of the Security Council to safeguard the 1267 Committee’s authority and the Security Council’s unity.”
“We hope the US will by all means exercise prudence and refrain from forceful actions,” he concluded.
US set to clash with China at UN over bid to blacklist JeM’s Masood Azhar
The United States circulated a resolution – drafted with British and French support – to the 15-member council that would designate Jaish-e-Muhammad leader Masood Azhar, subjecting him to an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze, diplomats said.
Reportedly, JeM claimed responsibility for a February 14 attack that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police, making it the deadliest in Indian occupied Kashmir during a 30-year-long rebellion. It increased tensions between Pakistan and India.