China says needs ?solid evidence? to back UN move to ban Masood Azhar

China has repeatedly stonewalled attempts by other UN Security Council members to designate Masood Azhar a terrorist. Photograph:( AFP )

PTI Beijing, China Feb 17, 2017, 03.28 PM (IST)

China said on Thursday it needed "solid evidence" for it to back efforts to get Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar designated a terrorist by the UN.

China's statement came ahead of its strategic dialogue with India on February 22. 

“China upholds principles of objectivity, impartiality and professionalism and takes part in relevant discussions. Whether last year’s application by India or this year’s by (the) relevant country, our position is consistent,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said.

“Our criteria is only one, we need solid evidence. If there is solid evidence the application can be approved. If there is no solid evidence there is hardly consensus,” he said.

China recently put a technical hold on the recent US move to designate Masood Azhar a terrorist in the 1267 committee of the UN Security Council, the third such time that it had put a technical hold.

The foreign ministry spokesperson said China has reiterated its stand on the matter several times. 

“On (the) 1267 committee, the latest development is that relevant countries have made another application with the committee. Relevant members of (the) committee are in consultation and relevant parties have failed to reach consensus so far.”

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and China’s executive vice foreign minister Zhang Yesui will hold a new round of strategic dialogue where the two sides will exchange views on the international situation and other regional and global issues of mutual interest, Geng Shuang said.

The two sides will  in the strategic dialogue which is an important communication mechanism between India and China, he said. Commenting on reports of “friction points” in the bilateral relationship, including the Azhar issue and India’s admission into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Geng said “differences are only natural”.

“Through all kinds of conversation and exchanges, including (the) upcoming Strategic Dialogue, (the) two sides can step up communication to narrow differences and reach new consensus on achieving cooperation,” he said.

(WION with inputs from PTI)