Acknowledging Pakistan’s ‘outstanding contribution’ to counter-terrorism efforts, China appeared to defend Islamabad a day after US President Donald Trump slammed Pakistan for providing safe havens to terrorists. Trump had accused Pakistan of “lies and deceit” and of fooling US leaders while sheltering terrorists. In a tweet on Monday, Trump had said: “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”
China’s today praised Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts, with its foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang saying the international community should acknowledge its measures. “Pakistan has made enormous efforts and sacrifice for the fight against terrorism and has made a very outstanding contribution to the global cause of counter-terrorism. The international community should acknowledge that,” Shuang was quoted as saying by PTI. Read Full Story: After US blocks $255 mn military aid, Pakistan PM to chair high-level meeting
The spokesperson also said he is glad to see Pakistan engaging in international cooperation, including counter-terrorism, on the basis of mutual respect so as to contribute to regional peace and stability. “China and Pakistan are all-weather partners. We stand ready to promote and deepen our all-round cooperation so as to bring benefits to the two sides,” Geng added.
China’s move to defend Islamabad is an important move as Beijing is currently investing heavily in Pakistan as part of the USD 50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) over which India has raised objections as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. During the first-ever trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan here last week, Beijing had announced plans to extend the CPEC to Afghanistan which shares close ties with India.
When asked if Donald Trump’s criticism would affect China’s efforts to bring peace between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the foreign ministry spokesperson said: “We believe as neighbours China, Pakistan and Afghanistan are closely linked not only geographically but also in terms of common interests. It is natural for us to enhance communication and exchanges.”
Trump’s latest remark on Pakistan is one of his strongest attack yet. The US President’s remarks came days after the New York Times reported that the US is considering withholding USD 225 million in aid to Pakistan, reflecting its dissatisfaction with Islamabad’s reluctance in the war against terrorism.
(With PTI inputs)