China on Friday tried to downplay the statement issued by the United Nations Security Council condemning the Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 soldiers last week. The statement had named Masood Azhar’s Jaish-e-Mohammad, which had claimed responsibility for the attack.

China, a permanent member of the Security Council, has repeatedly blocked efforts to list Masood Azhar as a terrorist at the United Nations.

When asked about the Security Council’s statement, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said: “Yesterday, the UN Security Council issued a press statement that mentioned a particular organisation but only in general terms. It does not represent a judgement on the attack.”

These remarks were seen as China’s attempt to pacify its ally Pakistan as the statement could not have been released without Beijing’s endorsement, PTI reported.

“China also noted that the Pakistani government showed readiness to cooperate with India on the investigation and that it is also ready to resolve differences with India through dialogue,” Geng added. “China hopes all parties will work to find the truth about this attack. We hope Pakistan and India will engage in dialogue to jointly safeguard regional peace and stability.”

The United Nations Security Council said that they emphasised the need to hold “perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice”. It also “urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Government of India and all other relevant authorities in this regard”.

“The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security,” the council said. It also expressed its sympathy and “deepest condolences” to the families of the victims, the Indian people and the government, and wished a speedy and full recovery to those injured.

The statement, however, did not name Pakistan. Jaish-e-Mohammed is based in Pakistan, which has led to a strain in ties between the two countries since the February 14 attack.

‘Delay in UNSC statement because of China’

China’s opposition to mentioning terrorism in the 15-member Security Council led to a week-long delay in the issuance of a statement, unidentified officials told PTI on Friday. But, the United States reportedly worked as a “pen holder” to make several adjustments in the statement to get it approved by all members of the council, officials said.

India-Pakistan ties

A day after the attack, India had revoked Pakistan’s Most Favoured Nation tag, and said it would isolate Islamabad globally. Islamabad has refuted allegations that it was connected with the attack.

Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday announced that India has decided to stop its share of water that used to flow to Pakistan. However, soon after Gadkari’s statement, a Water Resources ministry official clarified that this was not a new decision and that the minister was “simply reiterating” what he has always said.

India had earlier said that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan refused to condemn the Pulwama attack. The government had also said that Khan’s claim that Pakistan will investigate the attack if proof is provided was a “lame excuse”.

Khan had claimed that New Delhi has blamed Islamabad for the attack without any evidence.