Hours before the United Nations Security Council is to take up a resolution on listing Jaish-e-Muhammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, China on Wednesday hinted that it may once again block the move, saying only “the solution that is acceptable to all sides” is conducive to resolve the issue.
The fate of the proposal to designate Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN Security Council will be known in less than 24 hours when the deadline to raise objections to the bid expires.
“I could reiterate that China will continue to adopt responsible attitude and participate in the deliberations in the UNSC 1267 Committee,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a media briefing in Beijing.
The US, the UK and France had earlier moved a fresh proposal in the UN Security Council to designate Pakistan-based terror group JeM’s chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, a listing that will subject him to global travel ban, asset freeze and arms embargo.
The proposal was moved by the three permanent veto-wielding members of the 15-nation Security Council.
It was the fourth such bid at the UN in the last 10 years to list Azhar as a global terrorist.
China, a close ally of Pakistan, has consistently blocked moves first by India and later by the US, the UK and France to designate Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the 1267 Committee by putting technical holds.
In 2009, India moved a proposal to designate Azhar, whose UN-proscribed Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility for the suicide attack against Indian security forces in Pulwama on February 14 in which over 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed.
In 2016 again, India moved the proposal with the P3 – the United States, the United Kingdom and France in the UN’s 1267 Sanctions Committee to ban Azhar, also the mastermind of the attack on the airbase in Pathankot in January 2016.
In 2017, the P3 nations moved a similar proposal again. However, on all occasions, China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, blocked India’s proposal from being adopted by the Sanctions Committee. It remains to be seen how China will vote on the proposal this time.
China has been insisting that the solution should be acceptable to all.
Asked to clarify whether the issue has been listed for discussion for March 13 and China is in talks with all the parties concerned, Lu said, “First I want to clarify that I don’t recall saying anything about the deadline about the UNSC committee and other UN subsidiary bodies”.
On the issue of listing Azhar, he said, “I want to say that China always adopts a responsible attitude, engage in consultations with various parties and properly deal with this issue.”
“The discussions, I want to say must follow the rules and procedures of the relevant bodies and only the solution that is acceptable to all sides is conducive for resolving the issue,” he said.
Recently, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou travelled to Pakistan and held talks with Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and other officials.
India on Saturday said all UNSC members were aware about the JeM training camps and the presence of terror group’s chief Masood Azhar in Pakistan, and urged them to designate him as a global terrorist.
JeM was responsible for the Pulwama terror that killed over 44 CRPF personnel on February 14.
The Jem had earlier carried out many terror strikes in India and was also involved in the attack on Parliament, the Pathankot air force base, Army camps in Jammu and Uri.
Earlier, US State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino had said that Masood Azhar meets the criteria to be designated as a global terrorist and not doing so is against regional stability and peace.
China’s opposition to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as an international terrorist by the UN runs counter to its mutual goal with the US on regional stability, he said.
(With PTI inputs)