China on Tuesday said the deadlock over designating Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist by the United Nations will be “properly resolved” with joint efforts of all parties. The statement comes days after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan met Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Beijing has repeatedly blocked attempts by the United Nations Security Council to blacklist Azhar, most recently on March 13. The Jaish-e-Mohammed killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force Personnel in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14.

At a media briefing in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said China believes that the matter should be resolved through dialogue and consultation within the framework of the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council. “The relevant consultations are currently taking place within the framework of the 1267 Committee and positive progress has been made,” Geng added. “Third, we believe that this issue can be properly resolved with the joint efforts of all parties.”

On April 1, too, Beijing had said that it has made “positive progress” on resolving the deadlock over the matter. A global terrorist designation will subject Azhar to an assets freeze, travel ban and an arms embargo.

China’s defence

The proposal to blacklist Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee was moved by United States, the United Kingdom and France two weeks after the Pulwama bombing. China blocked it by putting a “technical hold” on the application. It defended its move saying it was only following procedure and needed more time to review the proposal.

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. China had previously prevented the Security Council’s Islamic State and al Qaeda sanctions committee from sanctioning Azhar in 2016 and 2017. On February 15, a day after the Pulwama attack, China had refused to back India’s appeal at the UN to designate Azhar a global terrorist.