Beijing: China today defended Pakistan saying the world community should acknowledge its all-weather ally’s “outstanding contribution” to counter terrorism, a day after US President Donald Trump lashed out at Islamabad for providing safe havens to terrorists.
In a scathing attack on Pakistan, Trump had accused it of “lies and deceit” and of fooling US leaders while sheltering 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,” Trump had tweeted yesterday.
“They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”, he said in a scathing criticism of Pakistan.
Today China, on expected lines, praised Pakistan’s counter terrorism record.
“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 here when asked about Trump’s criticism of Pakistan.
He said China is 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 said.
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 here last week, Beijing had announced plans to extend the CPEC to Afghanistan which shares close ties with India.
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”.