China on Monday defended Pakistan after the United States accused Islamabad of harbouring militants. Beijing said it did not believe in linking countries with terrorism.

China’s statement comes after the United States suspended aid to Pakistan after Washington gave Islamabad an ultimatum to crackdown on terrorists operating within its territory. Pakistan will lose almost $1.3 billion (Rs 8,238 crore) in annual aid from the US.

“China always opposed linking terrorism with any certain country and we do not agree to place the responsibility of anti-terrorism on a certain country,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang (pictured above) said at a press briefing. “We have stressed many times that Pakistan has made important sacrifices and contributions to the global anti-terrorism cause. Countries should strengthen anti-terrorism cooperation on the basis of mutual respect instead of finger pointing at each other.”

On January 1, US President Donald Trump claimed that Pakistan had given his country nothing but “lies and deceit” in return for $33 billion (Rs 2.10 lakh crore) in aid over the last 15 years.

Pakistani Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir-Khan had rebuked the US president’s tweet on January 1 and said that though Islamabad was its ally, America has given it nothing but invective and mistrust.

The rift between the US and Pakistan have been widening in the past few months. In December, Pakistan voted at the United Nations to condemn Trump’s move to recognise Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Trump had explicitly threatened to withdraw foreign aid from those countries that voted against the US.