Insights into Editorial: Forcing China’s hand?

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Insights into Editorial: Forcing China’s hand?


       

Context:

Recently, U.S. opened another front in its ongoing multi-pronged tussle with China when it circulated a draft resolution to the powerful 15-nation UN Security Council (UNSC) to blacklist Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and subject him to a travel ban, an assets freeze and an arms embargo.

USA circulated resolution because it knows that the Chinese position on the issue as China had put a hold on a French proposal to list Azhar under the 1267 al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Council.

Washington has underlined that it would utilise “all available avenues” to ensure that Azhar is held accountable by the UNSC.

By suggesting that “while we strongly prefer that UNSC designations take place through the committee process, the United States and its allies and partners.

 

Terrorist activities by the Azhar and JeM:

The presented draft resolution is backed by France and Britain, which joined the U.S. earlier this month in pushing for sanctions against Azhar in the Al-Qaeda and Islamic State committee.

Azhar is linked to terrorism for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities” carried out by the JeM, according to an annex to the draft.

China has been accused by western diplomats of protecting Pakistan’s interests in the latest stand-off with India.

The Chinese mission to the U.N did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Security Council, will utilise all available avenues to ensure that the founder and leader of the UN-designated terrorist organisation JeM is held accountable by the international community.

The Pulwama terror attack prompted tit-for-tat air raids, fueling fears of an all-out conflict between the two nuclear-armed countries.

 

China’s Reaction to the US Resolution:

China, of course, has reacted strongly to this move by arguing that the U.S. decision to go directly to the UNSC to designate Azhar could scuttle China’s efforts to resolve the issue amicably.

As per the Chinese spokesperson, “China has been working hard with relevant sides and is making positive results.

According to Chinese Foreign Ministry:

The U.S. knows that very well. Under such circumstances, the U.S. still insists on pushing the draft resolution doesn’t make any sense.”

But Beijing has defended its decision by arguing that it had adopted a “responsible attitude” in dealing “with this issue with relevant parties via thorough consultation.

There appears to be little to be gained at present by forcing China further into Pakistan’s corner, especially as New Delhi has said it would pursue the Azhar listing with China with “patience and persistence”, in keeping with its desire not to sacrifice the bilateral relationship over the issue.

 

However, Chinese seems to be Isolated:

Due to out of patience, the US, the UK and France are determined to force China’s hand this time by going around the sanctions committee, whose opaque operational rules of confidentiality and anonymity allowed China to block the designation without explaining its reasons or taking responsibility for it.

The three powers want China to allow the UNSC designation of Azhar “tentatively” by April 23, or they will move to the next step by moving a formal resolution for discussion, vote and passage at the UNSC.

With the latest proposal, the U.S. plans to “shame” China by bringing the Azhar listing to a public debate at the UNSC.

And if that fails, it is reportedly considering a UN General Assembly statement condemning Azhar.

To begin with, there is no indication that China is ready to change its stand, particularly in the face of coercion or threat from the U.S., and it could veto this proposal as well.

 

Way Forward: Need of the hour is Regional peace:

The listing of Azhar is an unfinished task India is justified in pursuing. However, the latest U.S. move comes with some concerns.

The latest American move is an unprecedented one, and is not only aimed at forcing the Chinese hand on Masood Azhar but is also a recognition of the new regional context in South Asia where a stronger global attempt to rein in Pakistan is the only viable option of maintaining regional peace.

As the U.S. and China prepare the South Asian chessboard, Indian moves have suddenly become the decisive ones and both the powers are calibrating their own moves accordingly.

New Delhi must applaud the strong support the U.S. and the other UNSC members have provided on the issue of cross-border terror threats, and on the vexed issue of Azhar’s listing.

But it must be careful not to stake too much on an immediate win at the UNSC vis-a-vis China, and keep its expectations realistic.