Beijing, February 17
China said on Friday that it needed “solid evidence” to support India’s calls for UN sanctions on Jaish-e-Mohammed top leader Masood Azhar, as the two countries prepare for bilateral meeting later this month.
Azhar is likely to be a sticking point at the meeting, which comes more than a month after China blocked yet another push — this one from the US — for UN Security Council sanctions on him.
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Azhar's involvement is suspected in several terrorist attacks in India, including one on a military installation in Pathankot last year.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang, who announced the meeting between India’s Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and China's Executive Vice-Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui in Beijing on February 22 at a media briefing, said: “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".
"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.”
"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."
Another contentious issue between the two countries is India’s membership to the Nuclear Supplier’s Group: China — a strategic ally of Pakistan — has resisted India’s push to join the elite group demanding fulfillment of certain conditions, such as nuclear non-proliferation.
Shuang told the media that the "differences are only natural" between the two countries.
"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.
China had forestalled a US resolution to have Azhar listed as a terrorist in the 1267 committee of the UN Security Council — a move that will mean travel restrictions and asset freeze for the JeM chief. — PTI