NEW DELHI: After Pakistan on Tuesday received a severe US bruising on terror safe havens, its ‘all-weather friend’ China jumped in for the second consecutive day this week to defend it, telling the US “Pakistan’s sovereignty and security concerns…need to be respected”, reported Xinhua.
On Tuesday, in what is probably thus far his harshest condemnation of Pakistan, Trump lambasted it for providing “safe havens to agents of chaos and terror”. In the course of highlighting his administration’s revamped Afghanistan strategy, Trump also threatened to cut off the “billions and billions of dollars” the US has given Pakistan to fight terror over the years.
A day later, China’s powerful state councillor Yang Jiechi phoned US secretary of state Rex Tillerson and said to him that Pakistan plays an “important role” in Afghanistan, reported Xinhua.
“We need to give attention to the important role Pakistan plays in the Afghanistan issue, and respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and security concerns, Yang said.
China had already defended Pakistan a day earlier, hours after Trump announced his government’s new Afghan policy.
“(On) President Trump’s remarks on Pakistan, I should say that Pakistan is at the frontline of fighting terrorism, has made sacrifices in fighting terrorism, making an important contribution to upholding peace and stability,” said China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying.
Trump had said a pillar of his new Afghanistan strategy was a change in the US’s approach to Pakistan. He slammed Pakistan for its support to terror groups.
“That will have to change and that will change immediately… it is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilisation, order, and to peace,” Trump said
Hua however said Pakistan has played a frontline role in peace efforts in Afghanistan.
“I think the international community should truly affirm” the efforts by Pakistan in combating terrorism.