China avoids Masood Azhar ban issue after BRICS declaration names JeM
China today parried questions on any change in its stand of blocking JeM chief Masood Azhar’s banning by the UN, even as the declaration of the BRICS Summit for the first time named the terror outfit along with other Pakistan-based groups for spreading violence in the region.
A veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, China has repeatedly blocked moves to ban Azhar under the Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Council.
“On participating in international campaign against terrorism, our position is consistent and firm,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing here, commenting on the strong stand taken by BRICS countries, including China, by naming Pakistan-based terror outfits among those spreading violence in the region.
He, however, skirted a direct response to a question on whether the naming of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) by the BRICS in which China is a prominent member marks a change in Beijing’s stand of opposing the ban against Azhar, who heads the group.
“I have not seen the BRICS joint declaration and don’t know the specific content,” Geng said.
“On the counter terrorism cooperation among the BRICS countries, we are very satisfied with the achievements made by the BRICS. We have a working group on terrorism,” he said.
In the last two years, China has stonewalled efforts by India and then later by the US, the UK and France to declare Azhar as a terrorist, stating that there is no consensus on the issue.
This has led to bilateral discord between India and China as Beijing’s move has been seen as an attempt to shield Azhar on behalf of Pakistan.
Early last month, China had again extended by three months its technical hold on the US, France and the UK-backed proposal to list Azhar for his role in the Pathankot terror attack.