China on Friday defended Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts, following President Donald Trump’s accusation that Islamabad harbours militants attacking US and Afghan troops.
“The government and people of Pakistan have made huge sacrifices in the fight against terrorism and such efforts and sacrifices are there for everyone to see,” Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said.
“The international community should recognise that… and give Pakistan the full credit it deserves,” he added.
The remarks were made at a press briefing in Beijing following a meeting between Wang and Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif.
In a major speech outlining US policy on Afghanistan last month, Trump slammed Pakistan for offering safe havens to “agents of chaos” and suggested relations would be adjusted immediately. He offered few details.
Following Trump’s remarks, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also cautioned that Pakistan could lose its status as a major US ally and see its US military aid suspended.
Asif on Friday said it is Pakistan’s firm view that maintaining regional security is a “critical” priority and focus should remain on peaceful solutions.
He also thanked Beijing for its role in hosting a trilateral Afghanistan-China-Pakistan foreign ministers’ forum, which is expected to take place before the end of this year.
Islamabad has repeatedly denied claims of being soft on militancy, accusing the United States of ignoring the thousands who have been killed in Pakistan and the billions spent fighting extremists.
Analysts have long stated that Pakistan offers support to militant proxies, including the Afghan Taliban, as a bulwark against what it considers to be the existential threat of neighbouring India.
Last year, the then-top foreign official Sartaj Aziz stated that the Taliban’s leadership does enjoy safe haven inside Pakistan, which Islamabad uses as a “lever” to pressure the group into talks with Kabul.