China has praised Pakistan for the 'restraint' Islamabad showed while dealing with the escalation in the conflict with India after the Pulwama attack and the resulting Indian air strike inside Pakistan. The Chinese adulation came amid intense global pressure over Pakistan to rein in multiple terror outfits operating from its soil. China has always been a bulwark of support for Pakistan and has offered the country solid support at the UN Security Council.
"China has paid close attention to the present situation between Pakistan and India, and appreciates Pakistan's remaining calm and exercising restraint from the beginning, and persisting in pushing to lower the temperature with India via dialogue," Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou said, according to Reuters.
China calls on Pakistan and India to refrain from taking actions that aggravate the situation, show goodwill and flexibility, launch dialogue as soon as possible, and work together to maintain regional peace and stability
The Chinese Minister made the comments during a visit to Islamabad. The Chinese foreign ministry said Kong met Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. A statement issued by the Chinese foreign ministry also stated that Beijing and Islamabad are "all weather" strategic partners and that they always supported each other, Reuters said.
The Pulwama terror attack on February 14 took the India-Pak conflict to a new low, prompting New Delhi to launch a pre-emptive attack on Jaish-e-Mohammad terror infrastructure deep inside Pakistani territory. The Indian Air Force Mirage-2000 fighter planes dropped Spice-2000 penetrative bombs on a sprawling JeM facility on the Jaba mountain top near Pakistan's Balakot on February 26.
India maintained that the strike was non-military and pre-emptive in nature, aimed at thwarting terror attacks on Indian soil by the JeM. Indian diplomacy appeared to win international support in the aftermath of the deadly terror attack in Pulwama, which killed 42 CRPF soldiers. In a sigh of serious support to India's arguments, the US, UK and France argued in the UN Security Council for the blacklisting of the JeM terror group.
Support for Masood Azhar
The development had put China on a spot of serious bother. The Times of India reported on Wednesday that the Chinese junior foreign minister's visit to Pakistan was aimed at sorting out the policy pitch on JeM leader Masood Azhar. There have been reports that China, which has consistently ruined India's effort to get Azhar named a global terrorist, was mulling a change in its stance amid international outcry for stricter action against terror outfits.
However, Thursday's developments would cast a shadow of doubt over that possibility. Meanwhile, Pakistan took apparent action against some of the terror leaders in an attempt to blunt international criticism over its fostering of ultras. It was reported that a brother of Masood Azhar was among dozens placed on detention in Pakistan.
The latest Chinese stance raises doubt Beijing would once again throw its weight behind Pakistan, and frustrate India's attempts to get the UNSC to declare Masood Azhar a global terrorist. Apart from praising Pakistan for its perceived attempts to de-escalate the tension, China also exhorted India to refrain from worsening the situation.
"China calls on Pakistan and India to refrain from taking actions that aggravate the situation, show goodwill and flexibility, launch dialogue as soon as possible, and work together to maintain regional peace and stability," the Chinese minister said.