On the second day of his official visit to Islamabad, State Commissioner for Counter-Terrorism and Security of the Peoples’ Republic of China Cheng Guoping once again reiterated China’s full support to Pakistan in its fight against terrorism, extremism and separatism.
“The state commissioner appreciated Pakistan’s support to China on its core issues, and for ensuring the safety and security of Chinese citizens working on various CPEC projects in Pakistan”, Cheng Guoping was quoted in a statement issued by the Foreign Office.
The Chinese support to Pakistan’s fight against terrorism, extremism and separatism came when the Chinese dignitary met Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz at the Foreign Office today. “Pakistan on its part will continue to support China on all its core issues. There is need to maintain the momentum of high-level contacts between the two countries,” Aziz told the state commissioner.
Taking cognizance of the fact that “profound changes are taking place both internationally and regionally”, Pakistan stressed that strengthening cooperation between China and Pakistan would serve the fundamental interests of the two countries and help promote regional peace and development.
“Both sides agreed on deepening cooperation in existing areas of interest, while exploring new avenues for practical collaboration in line with the vision of leadership of the two countries”, read the statement.
Cheng Guoping’s meeting with Aziz came at a time when Beijing bailed out Pakistan at the United Nations blocking a move by the United States and supported by the UK and France. On Tuesday, the US took to the UN Sanctions Committee for banning the alleged mastermind of the Pathankot terrorist attack, the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar.
China is the only country among the 15-member 1267 counter-terrorism committee of the UN Security Council which has objected to India’s application to list Azhar who is accused of masterminding the Pathankot terror attack, as a global terrorist by the UN. According to reports from New York, the US proposal was finalised after consultations with New Delhi, which had wanted JeM to be designated a terror outfit. The Chinese action came just before the expiry of the 10-day deadline for any proposal to be adopted or blocked or to be put on hold. The ‘hold’ remains for six months and can be further extended by three months. During this period, it can be anytime converted into a ‘block’, thereby, ending the life of the proposal. The visit of Cheng Guoping, to Islamabad is of great significance as it comes immediately after Pakistan put under house arrest the head of Jamaat-ud- Dawa, Hafiz Saeed.
Saeed is alleged to be the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack. After the arrest, ISPR had claimed that this move came as the result of a “policy decision”. Pakistan has at the start of the State Commissioner’s visit appreciated China’s position on Pakistan’s counter-terrorism strategy and the far-reaching successes achieved by Pakistan, while thanking China for its support to Pakistan’s national security and territorial integrity,
While several reports spoke of Chinese pressure on Pakistan to arrest Saeed, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang denied these reports saying Beijing supported international cooperation on counter-terrorism with Pakistan, provided it is conducted with Islamabad’s consent.
“China supports the independent strategies made by Pakistan on counter-terrorism and engaging in international cooperation on counter-terrorism. China supports the international community in conducting cooperation on that and we maintain that it must be based on mutual respect,” he said.
Last Friday, Lu Kang also announced that the Chinese state commissioner for counter-terrorism and security would be visiting Islamabad. Cheng Guoping who arrived for a three day visit , in his meeting with the special assistant , Syed Tariq Fatemi on Monday said China attaches great importance to its relations with Pakistan, and supports its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.