BEIJING (Reuters) – China said on Friday it was willing to have more discussions with all parties concerned including India on blacklisting the head of Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which claimed responsibility for the attack on an Indian paramilitary convoy in disputed Kashmir in February.
FILE PHOTO: Maulana Masood Azhar, head of Pakistan’s militant Jaish-e-Mohammad party, attends a pro-Taliban conference organised by the Afghan Defence Council in Islamabad August 26, 2001. MK/JD
China prevented a U.N. Security Council committee on Wednesday from blacklisting JeM founder Masood Azhar.
India said it was disappointed at the block, which sparked calls for boycotts of Chinese products on domestic social media, while the United States said it was counter to a goal it shared with China of achieving regional peace and stability.
In a statement faxed to Reuters late on Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry reiterated that the “technical hold” on the blacklisting was to give more time for the committee to have further consultations and study on the issue.
China hopes the committee’s actions can “benefit reducing the tense situation and protect regional stability”, the ministry said, responding to a Reuters question on the boycott calls in India.
“China is willing to strengthen communication with all parties, including India, to appropriately handle this issue,” it added, without elaborating.
The United States, Britain and France had asked the Security Council’s Islamic State and al Qaeda sanctions committee to subject Azhar to an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze. The 15-member committee operates by consensus.
China had previously prevented the sanctions committee from sanctioning Azhar in 2016 and 2017.
The Feb. 14 attack that killed at least 40 paramilitary police was the deadliest in Kashmir’s 30-year-long insurgency, escalating tension between the nuclear-armed neighbors, which said they shot down each other’s fighter jets late last month.
Western powers could also blacklist Azhar by adopting a Security Council resolution, which needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, Britain or France.
Blacklisted by the U.N. Security Council in 2001, JeM is a primarily anti-India group that forged ties with al Qaeda.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; editing by Diane Craft