"Positive Progress," Says China On Banning Masood Azhar, Hits Out At US

China last week defended its repeated attempts to block the listing of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed's chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist

'Positive Progress,' Says China On Banning Masood Azhar, Hits Out At US

Jaish-e-Mohammed's Masood Azhar and his terror group claimed responsibility for Pulwama attack

New Delhi: 

China on Monday said it is making "positive progress" to resolve the issue of designating Masood Azhar, chief of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed, as a global terrorist by the UN and accused the US of scuttling its efforts by taking the matter directly to the Security Council, news agency PTI reported.

China last week defended its repeated attempts to block the listing of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist and refuted the US' allegations that Beijing's action amounted to protecting terrorist groups from sanctions.

"After the application for designation of Azhar was proposed, China is in close communication and coordination with various parties and made positive progress. The US knows that very well," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters in Beijing on Monday.

China also criticised the US for directly taking the issue to the UN Security Council after Beijing put a technical hold on the US, UK and French resolution to declare him a global terrorist in the UN's 1267 committee, which deals with counter-terrorism.

China has so far blocked four attempts to designate the chief of the JeM a global terrorist by the UN. Masood Azhar's terror group had claimed responsibility for the suicide car bombing in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama on February 14 that killed 40 CRPF soldiers. India responded with an air strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Balakot, inside Pakistan.

Last month, China blocked a resolution moved by the US, Britain and France with a "technical hold", saying that it provides time and space for the relevant parties to hold talks. Following this, the US directly moved a resolution in the UN Security Council last week to blacklist Masood Azhar, which China said amounted to undermining the 1267 Committee.

"We believe under the current circumstances forcing a draft resolution at the Security Council is not a constructive move and set a bad example," Geng said, according to PTI. "We hope various parties will meet each other halfway and continue to properly solve this issue under the 1267 Committee framework. Last Friday, UNSC members exchanged views on the US proposed draft resolution. The majority believes that efforts should be made to solve the issues under 1267 Committee framework," he added.

"They are not in favour of forcing the draft resolution. China has been working with various parties and is making progress. The US knows that very well and yet, it insists on pushing the Security Council to adopt the draft resolution," he said. "This cannot be justified and is not in accordance with the rules and practices of the Security Council. It is setting a bad example that will only complicate the matter. It is also not conducive for peace and stability in South Asia. China is opposed to this," the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

India has long argued in the UN and on international forums that Pakistan must stop giving shelter to terror groups on its soil. Past Pakistani governments and the current one led by Prime Minister Imran Khan continue to deny terrorists are roaming freely in their country.

India had handed over the dossier - detailing the results of the investigation into the February 14 Pulwama attack and the Jaish complicity in it - to Pakistan's Acting High Commissioner on February 27. But Islamabad last week said the dossier did not show any link with Masood Azhar, drawing strong criticism from India.

With inputs from PTI

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