China defends blocking UN terror tag for Masood Azhar

ANKARA

After preventing a UN Security Council committee from blacklisting Masood Azhar, head of a militant group, China on Thursday said it was “ready to communicate and coordinate” with all sides to “properly handle” the issue, Indian media reported. 

The latest offer from Beijing came a day after China blocked a UN Security Council Sanctions Committee’s move to declare Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as “global terrorist”. 

Earlier, India’s Ministry of External Affairs had expressed disappointment over China’s move and said: “We will continue to pursue all available avenues to ensure that terrorist leaders who are involved in heinous attacks on our citizens are brought to justice.

According to the Press Trust of India (PTI), Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang defended the move and said: “Only a solution that is acceptable to all sides could fundamentally provide a chance for a lasting solution to the issue. China is ready to communicate and coordinate with all sides including India to properly handle this issue.” 

On Feb. 27, France, the U.K. and the U.S. moved a proposal to designate Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council, following a JeM-claimed suicide bombing in Indian-administered Kashmir in mid-February that left at least 40 Indian troops dead.

New Delhi accuses Islamabad of providing a sanctuary to the group, which has been banned in Pakistan since 2002.

The members of the committee had 10 working days to raise any objections to the proposal.

Just before the deadline ended, China put a “technical hold” on the proposal seeking “more time to examine” it — fourth time in a row, the Indian news agency reported. 

Beijing’s decision is in line with the rules of the committee, the PTI quoted Lu as saying. 

“As to the technical hold at the 1267 Committee our action is to make sure that the committee will have enough time to study the matter so that the relevant sides will have time for dialogue and consultation,” he added. 

Speaking about Kashmir dispute, Lu said that China’s position on the issue is “clear and consistent”.

“This is an issue that is left over between India and Pakistan. We hope that the two sides will engage in friendly dialogue consultation and solve this issue and other related issues,” he added.

*Ahmad Adil in Chandigarh contributed to this story.

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