Washington: China could play a “helpful role” in convincing Pakistan that it is in its national interest to crack down on terror safe havens, a senior White House official has said.
The official said China shared some of the concerns of the US about the terror issue in Pakistan and Washington is seeking to work with Beijing and other regional players to convince Islamabad about the need to crack down on terror groups.
The official said that dismantling terrorist safe havens in Pakistan is key to bringing stability in Afghanistan and in the region.
“Pakistan already has deep historical ties with China going back to many years and they have close military ties. The economic relationship is also growing due to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),” the senior administration official said on condition of anonymity.
“But, China shares some of the concerns of the US about the terrorism problem. The US is seeking to work with other regional players and China would be one of the main ones to deal with this issue. It won’t serve China’s interests to have terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan,” the official said.
The official was quick to point out that China had been playing a more helpful role in terms of encouraging better relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. “It is taking a more active role in this regard.”
“So, I would disagree with the assertion that China will not play a helpful role in convincing Pakistan it is in its own interest to crack down on the terror sanctuaries,” the official told a group of reporters on Friday.
“Ultimately, China is also working towards a stable Afghanistan. That’s going to take them back to the same issue which are the sanctuaries in Pakistan,” the official said.
“That relationship is already very very strong. But what we have seen is an interest by Pakistan in having a strong relationship with both the US and China. So that’s one issue. And the second issue is that China is also concerned about terrorism and extremism in South Asia,” the official said.
Noting that China has taken a more active role in trying to help stabilise Afghanistan, trying to improve relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the official said the US believed that China was interested also in the stability of Pakistan and also for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
“Ultimately, if they want to see stability in the region, and I think they do, they also will have an interest in seeing Pakistan crack down on the Haqqani and Taliban network,” the senior administration official said.