Need ‘solid evidence’ to back Masood Azhar ban at UN: China

Foreign secretary S. Jaishankar and China’s executive vice foreign minister Zhang Yesui will hold a new round of strategic dialogue in Beijing on 22 February


China has put a technical hold on the recent US move to list the JeM chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist in the 1267 committee of the UN Security Council. Photo: AFP
China has put a technical hold on the recent US move to list the JeM chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist in the 1267 committee of the UN Security Council. Photo: AFP

Beijing: Ahead of its strategic dialogue with India, China on Friday said “solid evidence” was needed for it to back efforts to get Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar banned by the UN.

Foreign secretary S. Jaishankar and China’s executive vice foreign minister Zhang Yesui will hold a new round of strategic dialogue in Beijing on 22 February, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told a media briefing here.

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The two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on the international situation and other regional and global issues of mutual interest in the strategic dialogue which is an important communication mechanism between India and China, he said.

Commenting on reports of “friction points” in the bilateral relationship, including the Azhar issue and India’s admission into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Geng said “differences are only natural”. “Through all kinds of conversation and exchanges, including (the) upcoming Strategic Dialogue, (the) two sides can step up communication to narrow differences and reach new consensus on achieving cooperation,” he said. On the Azhar issue, over which China has put a technical hold on the recent US move to list the JeM chief as a terrorist in the 1267 committee of the UN Security Council, Geng said China will support the move if there is solid evidence.

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“China upholds principles of objectivity, impartiality and professionalism and takes part in relevant discussions. Whether last year’s application by India or this year’s by (the) relevant country, our position is consistent,” Geng said. “Our criteria is only one, we need solid evidence. If there is solid evidence the application can be approved. If there is no solid evidence there is hardly consensus,” he said. Stating that China has reiterated its stand several times, Geng said, “On (the) 1267 committee, the latest development is relevant countries have made another application with the committee. Relevant members of (the) committee are in consultation and relevant parties have failed to reach consensus so far.” PTI

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