A day after US President Donald Trump called out Pakistan’s lies and deceit on terrorism, China has defended the country, highlighting its “outstanding contribution” to counter terrorism.
“Pakistan has made enormous efforts and sacrifice for the fight against terrorism and has made very outstanding contribution to the global cause of counter terrorism. The international community should acknowledge that,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.
Trump had lashed out at Pakistan for providing safe havens to terrorists.
“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools…They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” Trump had tweeted.
China said it was glad to see Pakistan engaging in international cooperation, including counter terrorism, on the basis of mutual respect so as to contribute to regional peace and stability.
“China and Pakistan are all weather partners. We stand ready to promote and deepen our all-round cooperation so as to bring benefits to the two sides,” Geng added.
China is currently investing heavily in Pakistan as part of the USD 50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) over which India has raised objections as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
During the first ever trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan in Beijing last week, Beijing had announced plans to extend the CPEC to Afghanistan
which shares close ties with India.
China has been trying to bridge the widening gap between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Kabul has several times in the past, accused Islamabad of sheltering Taliban militants.
When asked whether Trump’s criticism would affect China’s efforts to bring peace between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Geng said “We believe as neighbours China, Pakistan and Afghanistan are closely linked not only geographically but also in terms of common interests. It is natural for us to enhance communication and exchanges”.
He said during the December 26 trilateral meet, the three countries “reached a lot of consensus” on cooperation, which also included the three nations enhancing cooperation on counter terrorism and fighting against terrorism in all forms and manifestations.
(With inputs from agencies)