China downplays alleged Pakistani link in Kabul blast

05 June 2017

Steering clear of any reference to its ''all weather ally'' Pakistan, China's assistant foreign minister on Monday said "one country alone cannot tackle terrorism", after Afghanistan blamed its neighbour for last week's deadly bomb blast in Kabul.

Days ahead of the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in which India and Pakistan will become full members, Assistant Foreign Minister Li Huilai China highlighted that combating international terrorism was a shared global responsibility.

In response to a question regarding accusations that the Haqqani network, allegedly backed by Pakistani intelligence, was behind the recent Kabul blasts that killed scores, Li said that Beijing opposed ''all forms of terrorism''.

Citing the string of terror attacks that targeted Afghanistan, Britain, and the Philippines, Li stressed that a global consensus had been achieved that ''the international community had to jointly tackle terrorism''. No ''single country or party'' had the capacity to tackle the menace alone, he observed. China, he added was willing to work with all parties ''bilaterally or regionally'' to achieve regional stability.

Li confirmed that India and Pakistan will become full members of the SCO during the course of the grouping's summit in the Kazakhstan's capital Astana later this week.

He said that during the summit that begins on 7 June, a resolution would be passed ''according status of membership to India and Pakistan''. With the inclusion of the two countries, the ''geographic coverage (of the SCO) will be extended to South Asia, covering three-fifth of the Eurasian continent covering half the population of the world''. Consequently, the SCO would become more representative, with an enhanced potential for cooperation, he observed.

Answering a question, the Chinese official said that India's bid for membership of the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) ''is more complicated than what was imagined previously''. He added, ''China supports the NSG to have several consultations to reach a non-discriminatory and universally applicable solution to all the members of the NSG.''

Li stressed that China and India as ''important neighbours'' and ''emerging market economies'' are positioned to play global responsibilities. He said that Beijing-New Delhi cooperation was important to ''world peace and stability''. Pointing to the ''multiple.

The Afghan government said early findings from an investigation showed the blast was carried out by the Taliban-linked Haqqani network with "direct coordination" by Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). Pakistan has denied the charge.

Li said an SCO treaty on combating terrorism and formalising India's and Pakistan's entry into the six member security grouping were on the agenda for the summit in Astana. The group's current members are China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzebekistan.

Li said China welcomed India's addition to the grouping which would make it more representative with it now representing more than half the world's population.

A bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Modi and China's President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the summit is being discussed. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is also expected to attend the Astana summit.

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