China on Friday said it was only following procedure while blocking attempts to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist. The country’s foreign ministry said its actions do not amount to protecting violent Islamic groups from sanctions – an allegation levelled by the United States.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called out China of “shameful hypocrisy” towards Muslims. “On one hand, China abuses more than a million Muslims at home, but on the other it protects violent Islamic terrorist groups from sanctions at the UN [United Nations],” he had said in a tweet.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said the country has put a technical hold on the application to designate Azhar a global terrorist, but never vetoed the proposal at the Security Council. China’s time to list specific reasons for its technical hold ends this week.

“If a country accuses China of such technical shelving as sheltering terrorists, are countries that adopt the same approach in the Security Council sheltering terrorists?” Geng said at a media briefing. “In recent years, the 1267 committee has set aside the most applications for listing, not China. According to this logic, is the country with the most shelving actions the biggest asylum of terrorism?”

The US circulated a draft resolution in the United Nations Security Council to designate Azhar an international terrorist on Wednesday. The draft resolution calls for a travel ban, assets freeze and an arms embargo on Azhar.

Geng on Thursday had accused the US of bypassing the 1267 Committee by putting forward its draft resolution directly to the Security Council. “It [US] has undermined the authority of the 1267 Committee as a main counter-terrorism agency at the Security Council and is not conducive to upholding the unity of the Security Council,” he said.

Till date, China has four times blocked attempts to designate Azhar, whose outfit had claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14, a global terrorist.