Beijing: A day after US President Donald Trump tore into Pakistan for squandering billions of American aid meant to flush out terrorism, China on Tuesday defended Islamabad saying the world community should acknowledge its all-weather ally’s ‘outstanding contribution’ to counter terror.
“Pakistan has made enormous efforts and sacrifice for the fight against terrorism and has made an outstanding contribution to the global cause of counter-terrorism. The international community should acknowledge that,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said when asked about Trump’s criticism of Pakistan, PTI reported.
He added that China 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 said.
China 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.
In a scathing attack on Pakistan on Monday, Trump had accused it of ‘lies and deceit’ and of fooling US leaders while sheltering terrorists.
“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 and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more”, he had tweeted.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2018
Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the US Hamdullah Mohib had welcomed Trump remarks. “A promising message to Afghans who have suffered at the hands of terrorists based in Pakistan for far too long,” he had tweeted
— Hamdullah Mohib (@hmohib) January 1, 2018
Meanwhile, during the first-ever trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan last week, Beijing had announced plans to extend the CPEC to Afghanistan which shares close ties with India.
Afghanistan also accuses Pakistan of sheltering Taliban militants, leading to a long-running spat between the two countries. China is seeking to mediate between the two neighbours through the trilateral mechanism.
Asked whether Trump’s criticism would affect China’s efforts to bring peace between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Geng 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”.
He said during the December 26 trilateral meet, the three countries “reached a lot of consensus” on cooperation. This included the three nations enhancing cooperation on counter-terrorism and fighting against terrorism in all forms and manifestations.
“The parties will enhance cooperation in this regard,” Geng said.
(With PTI inputs)