China defends decision to delay bid at U.N. to sanction Pakistan militant

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan talks to China’s President Xi Jinping during their meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, October 9, 2019. Parker Song/Pool via REUTERS

UNITED NATIONS -China on Thursday defended its decision to delay a proposal by the United States and India at the U.N. Security Council to sanction a senior commander in a Pakistan-based militant group.

India and the United States want Abdul Rauf Azhar, commander of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant group, to be subjected to a global travel ban and asset freeze. The move has to be agreed by all 15 members of a Security Council sanctions committee.

“We placed a hold because we need more time to study the case. Placing holds is provided for by the Committee guidelines, and there have been quite a number of similar holds by Committee members on listing requests,” a spokesperson for China’s mission to the United Nations told Reuters.

When asked for further comment at a regular briefing in Beijing on Thursday, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry defended China’s track record at the sanctions committee, also known as the 1267 Committee, and asked the media not to “speculate”.

“China has always participated in the work of the 1267 Committee in a constructive and responsible manner in strict accordance with the rules and procedures of the Committee, and we hope that other members will do the same,” foreign ministry Wang Wenbin said.

The U.S. Treasury designated Azhar in 2010, accusing him of urging Pakistanis to engage in militant activities and organize suicide attacks in India.

The United States respects other countries needs to verify that a sanctions proposal meets their “domestic evidentiary threshold to justify a listing at the U.N.,” a spokesperson for the U.S. mission to the United Nations said on Wednesday.

“The United States values cooperation with our Security Council partners to effectively use this tool in an apolitical way to stop terrorists from exploiting the global order to do their misdeeds,” the spokesperson said.



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