New Delhi: China heaped praise on its ‘all-weather’ strategic partner Pakistan for showing restraint and its willingness to talk to India in diffusing tensions with New Delhi after the Pulwama terror attack that claimed lives of 40 CRPF personnel in South Kashmir last month. It also hoped that Beijing and other members of the international community play a “constructive role” in easing tensions between India and Pakistan.

Furthermore, China urged both the countries (India and Pakistan)  to refrain from aggravating the situation as Beijing weighed its options to take a stand on the fresh move in the UN Security Council to declare JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.

Issuing a statement, a day after Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou visited Islamabad, China’s Foreign Ministry said,”China has paid close attention to the present situation between Pakistan and India, and appreciates Pakistan’s remaining calm and exercising restraint from the beginning, and persisting in pushing to lower the temperature with India via dialogue

Speaking to media in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that Kong held in-depth talks with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, besides Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, regarding the ongoing Indo-Pak tensions.

In Islamabad, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said that both Pakistan and China reaffirmed their “time-tested and all weather strategic cooperative partnership”. “Pakistan thanked China for its steadfast support. Vice Foreign Minister was briefed on Pakistan’s efforts to resolve all issues with India through dialogue,” the FO said in a statement.

“He underscored that Pakistan and China are close friends and partners. He reiterated China’s support to Pakistan for peace and stability in the region. He also acknowledged Pakistan’s measures against terrorism,” it said.

It added,”Both sides noted with satisfaction the strong bonds in their bilateral relations and agreed to further enhance cooperation and coordination at all levels.”

Notably, Kong’s visit to Islamabad comes ahead of UNSC’s March 13 deadline for any country to raise objections against the proposal to list Masood Azhar, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief as a ‘global terrorist’. China thrice blocked efforts to list Azhar as a global terrorist by the UNSC by putting up technical holds. However, this time expectations are high that Beijing may take a different stand considering JeM has admitted its role in the Pulwama attack.