China said on Tuesday that the vexed issue of designating Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN will be "properly resolved" but it did not give any timeline, days after Chinese President Xi Jinping met Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan here.
China put a technical hold in March on a fresh proposal toimpose a ban on the head of Pakistan-based JeM which claimed responsibility forthe deadly Pulwama attack. It was for the fourth time, China blocked Azhar'slisting as a global terrorist by the UN.
"I can only say that I believe that this will beproperly resolved," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told amedia briefing here.
He was responding to questions on the media reports thatChina has reportedly consented to lift its technical hold on a fresh proposalmoved by France, the UK and the US to list Azhar under the 1267 Al QaedaSanctions Committee of the UN Security Council.
The US, the UK and France this time stepped up pressure onBeijing by taking the issue directly to the powerful UN Security Council(UNSC).
Though China can exercise its veto power as a permanentmember of the UNSC, Beijing has staunchly opposed the issue to be taken to theapex UN body as it has to publically explain its stand on its reservations tolist Azhar, whose group JeM has already been designated as terror outfit by UN,before exercising its veto.
China has accused the US of scuttling progress to resolvethe issue by taking it to the UNSC and insisted that it should be resolved atthe 1267 Committee whose proceedings are not publicised.
"Regarding the listing issue in the 1267 Committee, wehave expressed our position many times and I just want to stress twopoints," Geng said answering a number of questions on Azhar's issue.
"First, we support the listing issue being settledwithin the 1267 committee through dialogue and consultation and I believe thisis the consensus of most members. Second, the relevant consultations are goingon within the committee and has achieved some progress. Third, I believe, withthe joint efforts of all parties, this issue can be properly resolved," hesaid.
On reports that China would lift its technical hold on May1, he said, "on the listing issue, China is still working with therelevant parties and we are in contact with all relevant parties within the 1267Committee and I believe with the joint efforts of all parties, this will beproperly resolved."
Asked about the recent visit of Indian Foreign SecretaryVijay Gokhale to Beijing during which he held talks with Chinese ForeignMinister Wang Yi as well as New Delhi shared the technical evidence of JeM'sinvolvement in the Pulwama attack, Geng reiterated that China is still workingwith the relevant parties.
"I believe with the joint efforts of all parties, thiswill be properly resolved," he said.
The efforts to resolve Azhar's listing issue gatheredmomentum last week with the visit of Imran Khan to Beijing to attend China's2nd Belt and Road Forum (BRF) which was held here from April 25-27.
During the visit, Khan held talks with Xi, besides meetingPremier Li Keqiang and Vice President Wang Qishan during which India-Pakistantension following the Pulwama attack as well as listing of Azhar reportedlyfigured.
An official statement of China issued after Xi-Khan meetingon Sunday said the Chinese President had expressed hope that Pakistan and Indiacan meet each other halfway and improve their relations.
Both leaders also exchanged views on the situation in SouthAsia.
Asked about the outcome of Khan's visit and his talks withthe Chinese leaders, Geng said, "I would like to stress that Pakistan isChina's 'All Weather Strategic Cooperative Partner'."
Both the countries are "Iron Brothers", he said,adding that "we firmly support each other on the issues concerning ourcore interests. Pakistan is always one of China's diplomatic priorities".
"No matter how the international and regional situationmay evolve, we firmly support Pakistan in safeguarding its sovereignty anddignity, independently choosing its development path based on its ownconditions, securing a sound external environment and playing a constructiverole in international and regional affairs," he said.
"We commend the Pakistani government's and people's effortsin fighting terrorism and extremism and their great endeavours and sacrificesto this end," he said, lauding Pakistan's counter terrorism efforts.
"We call on the international community to fairly andjustly see Pakistan's endeavours and contributions in counter terrorism andstep up dialogue and cooperation with the country," he said.
China and Pakistan will continue to deepen their high levelexchanges and support each other and step up strategic coordination, "makemore coordinated efforts in international and regional affairs and deepen ourall weather strategic cooperation," he added.