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China Says ‘Positive Progress’ Made In Masood Azhar Listing Case, Blames US For UN Move

China said on Monday that “positive progress” has been made in resolving the issue of designating Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist at the United Nations. China tried pointing towards a resolution of the problem souring Sino-India bilateral ties.

The Chinese foreign ministry accused the US of complicating the matter by taking Azhar’s listing directly to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) saying the US move is against peace in south Asia.

“After the application for designation of Azhar was proposed (in the 1267 committee), China is in close communication and coordination with various parties and made positive progress. The US knows that very well,” foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at the regular media briefing on Monday.

The ministry, however, didn’t share details on what exact “progress” had been made in the case, keeping its views on the subject cryptic.

Asked to clarify whether the progress he meant was to resolve the issue of listing Azhar, Geng said: “Yes. The US knows that very well”.

“We believe under the current circumstances forcing a draft resolution at the (UN) Security Council is not a constructive move and set a bad example,” Geng said, referring to Washington’s move to take the case directly to the UNSC.

“We hope various parties will meet each other half way and continue to properly solve this issue under the 1267 Committee framework. Last Friday, UNSC members exchanged views on the US proposed draft resolution. The majority believes that efforts should be made to solve the issues under 1267 Committee framework,” Geng added.

The foreign ministry spokesperson criticised Washington for pushing the UNSC to adopt the draft resolution.

“They are not in favour of forcing the draft resolution. China has been working with various parties and is making progress. The US knows that very well and yet, it insists on pushing the (UN) Security Council to adopt the draft resolution,” he said.

“This cannot be justified and is not in accordance with the rules and practices of the Security Council. It is setting a bad example that will only complicate the matter. It is also not conducive for peace and stability in south Asia. China is opposed to this,” he said.

To another question whether the US is making efforts to list Azhar by bypassing procedures to benefit the ruling BJP in India’s upcoming general elections, Geng reiterated that Washington’s stand is not conducive to peace and stability in south Asia but refused to comment on the elections.

“It is setting a bad example that will only complicate the matter. It is also not conducive for peace and stability in south Asia. The general election is the domestic affair of India. We do not comment on that,” he said.

Last week, China said the US has complicated the issue of listing Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Azhar as a global terrorist by moving a separate resolution at the UNSC, bypassing the anti-terror committee in the UN itself where Beijing has repeatedly blocked the listing process.

Beijing’s sharp reaction came after the US, supported by France and the UK, moved a draft resolution at the UNSC to list Azhar.

Azhar-led JeM took responsibility of the Pulwama attack in February in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. Since then Islamabad has been under renewed pressure to act on terror and New Delhi has been carrying out an international campaign to get Azhar listed.

China, however, has been unmoved in its decision to block Azhar’s listing in the UN sanctions committee.

China has so far blocked the move four times.

In March, Beijing blocked a resolution by the US, UK and France in the counter-terrorism 1267 committee with “technical hold” saying that it gives needs time to countries to discuss the listing.

“Since China needs more time to conduct an in-depth and comprehensive review, we put forward a technical hold to the relevant listing on March 13th. This is in line with the rule of procedures of this committee and there are some precedent cases of such technical holds,” spokesperson Geng had said last week.