China reported positive progress on Monday on a move to get Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar declared a UN-designated global terrorist, as members of the UN Security Council try quietly to resolve the issue.
After the application for designation of Azhar was proposed, China is in close communication and coordination with various parties and made positive progress,” said Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign affairs ministry.
The US knows that very well. But under such circumstances, the US is still pushing the Security Council to adopt a draft resolution. This cannot be justified,” Mr Geng told a news briefing in Beijing.
The Indian media had reported earlier that the Security Council could vote on Wednesday on a US draft resolution to declare Masood Azhar a global terrorist. But the vote has apparently been delayed.
On March 13, China blocked a French proposal, backed by both the United States and Britain, to seek the designation through a UN forum known as the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee. While putting a technical hold on the move, Beijing argued that it needed more time to study the case.
The Chinese foreign ministry said the hold would also provide time and space for the parties concerned to review the Pulwama suicide bombing, which killed 40 Indian troops near the small Kashmiri town in IOK.
India claims the attack was carried out by JeM while Pakistan says it was organised and carried out by locals harmed by Indian troops.
But on March 27, the US circulated a draft resolution at the 15-nation UN Security Council to blacklist Masood Azhar and subject him to a travel ban, an assets freeze and an arms embargo.
Diplomatic observers in Washington say the US hopes that 14 of the 15 UNSC members will vote for the resolution when it goes to vote, proving that China is the only state still opposing it.
China, a permanent veto-wielding member of the Security Council, blocked previous attempts in 2009, 2016 and 2017 to provide space for Pakistan and India to resolve the dispute bilaterally.
At a recent briefing in Washington, US State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino reminded Beijing that the United States and China “share a mutual interest in achieving regional stability and peace, and that a failure to designate Azhar would run counter to this goal”.
While China agrees with the suggestion to work with the US to discourage militancy and terrorism. Mr Geng said “in the current circumstances, forcing a resolution at the Security Council is not a constructive move and sets a bad example”.
Urging Washington to return to the 1267 committee, the Chinese spokesperson said: We hope various parties will meet each other halfway and continue to properly solve the issues under the 1267 UN committee framework.
On Friday, UNSC members exchanged views on the US draft and the majority felt that efforts should be made under the framework of 1267 committee and to solve the issue through dialogue and consultations, Mr Geng said.
The majority of the UNSC members, he added, were not in favour of forcing a draft resolution. The US stance will only complicate the issue and is not conducive to peace and stability in South Asia, he observed.