China on Tuesday defended Pakistan after United States President Donald Trump’s criticism that it allegedly protects terrorists. Calling its partnership with Islamabad “all-weather”, Beijing praised Islamabad for its “tremendous efforts and sacrifices” in the fight against terrorism and urged the international community to acknowledge the country’s contributions, too.

“As we have said many times, Pakistan has made tremendous efforts and sacrifices in combating terrorism and made outstanding contributions to the international fight against terror,” said Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang. “We are happy to see Pakistan cooperating with other countries on the basis of mutual respect, including in the fight against terror, and jointly committing itself to peace and stability in the region.”

China’s defence of Pakistan follows a tweet by Trump on Monday – his first in the New Year – that the US had “foolishly” given Islamabad $33 billion (Rs 2.10 lakh crore) in aid over the past 15 years. In return, he claimed, Pakistan had given the US nothing but “lies and deceit”. The US president added that his country’s operations in Afghanistan were being affected because Islamabad provided “safe haven” to terrorists.

This is not the first time Trump has condemned Islamabad. He had first criticised Pakistan in August 2017 for providing shelter to terrorists. In July 2017, the US had blocked $350 million (Rs 2,23,433 lakh) in aid to Pakistan for not taking enough action against the Haqqani network.