China blocks US-backed move to sanction JeM chief Masood Azhar

China on Thursday blocked a US-backed resolution to sanction Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar at the UN Security Council, citing “absence of consensus” among member countries to declare him an international terrorist.

The foreign ministry had signalled its intention to block the resolution earlier in the day, saying: “It is a fact that the (UN) committee is yet to reach agreement (on the move).”

After Beijing blocked and put a technical hold on India’s application that lapsed last year, the US in January had put a fresh proposal – backed by France and the UK – to ban Azhar.

Beijing again put a technical hold on the proposal till August, only to extend it further for three months. The technical hold expires on Thursday.

China’s ‘no’ to the US proposal means that a new resolution will have to be moved.