Beijing: China is set to block a resolution at the UN this week to declare Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar an international terrorist, frustrating India and the US who want the chief plotter of a deadly attack on Indian military bases punished.
After Beijing blocked and put a technical hold on India's application that lapsed last year, the US in January had put a fresh proposal - backed by France and the UK - to ban Azhar.
Beijing again put a technical hold on the proposal till August, only to extend it further for three months. The technical hold expires on Thursday.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the 1267 Committee of the UN Security Council was still in disagreement to approve the application.
"As for the listing application by the relevant country, there are disagreements. China put the technical hold to allow more time to deliberate on this matter," Hua said.
"To our regret, the committee so far has yet to reach consensus," she added.
China's 'no' to the US proposal means that a new resolution will have to be moved.
Minus China, all the countries of the 15-member Security Council are on board to ban Azhar, who heads the Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit.
China is one of the five veto-holding members and its vote for and against the resolution is decisive.
"We have made our position clear many times... Relevant resolutions of the Security Council have clear stipulations as to the mandate of 1267 committee and also clear stipulations when it comes to the listing of the terrorist organisations and individuals," Hua said.
"We believe that the committee (UN) should follow the principles of objectivity, professionalism and fairness and reach a decision by consensus based on solid proof," she said.
The listing of Azhar has become a sore point between China and India. In September, China agreed to include Azhar's outfit in the joint statement by BRICS members.
Asked if China was trying to defend Pakistan by vetoing application against Azhar, Hua said: "I can understand why you raised this question but I cannot side with what you just said.
"China always upholds the principles of fairness and objectivity and we judge this matter on its own merits. You mentioned Pakistan. Pakistan is also a victim of terrorism and we support Pakistan in countering terrorism in accordance with its own national conditions."
Beijing has steadfastly shielded its "all-weather" ally Islamabad, which has been accused of harbouring terror outfits by India.
China has invested billions in the key infrastructure project of Belt and Road initiative in Pakistan which seeks to connect Asia with Europe through a network of roads, highways, ports and sea lanes.