–Spokesperson says US move to bypass China sets a ‘bad precedent’
–Washington says it will send junior officials to Belt and Road summit over ‘financing practices’
BEIJING/WASHINGTON: China has again warned the United States of “complications” after Washington tried to circumvent the rules to get Jasih-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar designated as a global terrorist at United Nation Security Council (UNSC) meeting last week in spite of a “technical hold” on the issue.
China and the US have locked horns over the future of the JeM chief ever since India approached the UN for the ban on Azhar over his outfit’s role in fomenting terrorism in India.
After seeing China’s reluctance for immediate action, the US circulated a draft resolution UNSC members in a bid to achieve that objective, a move that diplomats saw as circumventing well-established procedures and rules.
In addition, the US has stated it will “utilise all available resources” to ensure Azhar was held accountable, countering Chinese charges that it has circumvented UN security council’s sanctions committee to blacklist the Pakistan-based Azhar.
This move sets a “bad precedent” that would “only complicates the issue”, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shung while addressing media briefing in Beijing.
“The US action is neither consistent with UN rules nor conducive to peace and stability in South Asia,” he said, adding China will continue to adopt a constructive attitude to participate in discussions, hoping for a “proper solution”.
The spokesman was responding to a question about the US move on March 27 of circulating a draft resolution to the powerful the council blacklist Masood Azhar and subject him to a travel ban in addition to frozen assets and an arms embargo.
Geng said China of late has “repeatedly stated its position on the Masood Azhar designation issue and it hopes relevant sides will meet each other halfway to properly handle this issue under the framework of 1267”.
Beijing has been working hard with relevant sides and is making positive results, he said, adding despite the circumstances Washington insists on pushing the draft resolution which does not make sense.
The spokesman was also asked to comment on a statement by an Indian retired general, who has served as corps commander in Indian occupied Kashmir, saying that Pulwama was inevitable because of India’s policies in the region.
Geng said: “China has a stated its position. We hope South Asia could maintain peace and stability and we hope India and Pakistan will engage in dialogue to resolve outstanding issues.”
US WON’T SEND TOP OFFICIALS FOR SUMMIT:
Meanwhile, the US has said it would not send high-level officials to attend China’s second Belt and Road summit in Beijing this month, citing concerns about financing practices for the initiative.
“We will not send high-level officials from the United States,” US State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in answer to a question from Reuters.
“We will continue to raise concerns about opaque financing practices, poor governance, and disregard for internationally accepted norms and standards, which undermine many of the standards and principles that we rely upon to promote sustainable, inclusive development, and to maintain stability and a rules-based order.
“We have repeatedly called on China to address these concerns,” Palladino added.
A person familiar with the matter said Washington was considering sending a lower-level staffer from the US embassy to observe and take notes on the conference but not to participate, though a final decision has not yet been made.
The first summit for Belt and Road, which envisions rebuilding the old Silk Road to connect China with Asia, Europe and beyond with massive infrastructure spending, was held in 2017 and attended by Matt Pottinger, the senior White House official for Asia.
China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, said on Saturday that almost 40 foreign leaders would take part in the summit due to be held in Beijing in late April. He rejected criticisms of the plan as “prejudiced”.
–With additional details from foreign agencies