BEIJING: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) forum should not be politicised by countries to pursue their agenda, said a top Chinese foreign ministry official on Monday.
“China does not want the FATF to be politicised by any single country. There are some countries which want to include Pakistan in the blacklist. They have political designs which China is against,” said Deputy Director General Yao Wen at the Department of Asian Affairs of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Speaking to a group of Pakistani journalists, Mr Yao said China blocked attempts to include Pakistan in the blacklist. “We made it clear to the US and India that we cannot do it. It goes beyond the purpose of FATF,” he added.
He said the FATF was meant to support a country to take action against terror financing. “Pakistan was effectively pursuing its National Action Plan and China encouraged it to act against terrorists and strengthen its system.”
Official says some countries want Pakistan put on blacklist
Mr Yao said instead of pressuring Pakistan, FATF member countries should assist Pakistan to improve its system.
Besides China, Turkey and Malaysia also supported Pakistan in the FATF meeting held in October.
The FATF is a global watchdog for money laundering and terrorist financing. On Oct 18, it gave a four-month lifeline to Pakistan and strongly urged Pakistan to complete its action plan by February 2020 and until then the country will remain on the “grey list”, according to a Dawn newspaper report.
The Paris-based FATF reviewed measures taken and progress made by almost 15 countries, including Pakistan, vis-à-vis anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) in its five-day plenary, which concluded on Oct 18, the report added.
Mr Yao welcomed the establishment of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority by Pakistan and said it would help expedite work on CPEC projects.
About the recent visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to India amid Kashmir tensions, Mr Yao said relations between China and Pakistan were mature enough to handle such visits. “Mutual trust between China and Pakistan is very high while we have a deficit of trust with India since we have so many problems and differences [with them],” he added.
He said Mr Xi conveyed Pakistan’s concerns to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over Kashmir.
“India was told that Pakistan did not want war with it and desired to resolve the Kashmir issue through peaceful means,” he added.
Mr Yao said China had a clear position that Kashmir is a disputed territory and the issue needs to be resolved in accordance with the United Nations Charter and Security Council resolutions.
“China did not back the unilateral action taken by India [on Aug 5]. China is willing to play a constructive role for the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue,” he said. He said China and Pakistan had strong cooperation in the defence sector.
Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2019