BEIJING: China pledged its support for close ally Pakistan on Tuesday, after the United States announced it would suspend $800 million worth of security aid to Islamabad.
“Pakistan is an important country in South Asia. The stability and development of Pakistan is closely connected with the peace and stability of South Asia,” foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.
“China has always provided assistance to Pakistan, helping it improve people’s livelihood and realise the sustainable development of its economy and society. China will continue to do so in the future.”
US President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, William Daley, announced in a television interview on Sunday that the United States had decided to withhold almost a third of its annual $2.7 billion security assistance to Islamabad.
The move has plunged relations between Islamabad and Washington — already rocky after US commandos killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May on Pakistani soil — to a new low.
But it was welcomed by India
, which has long accused Pakistan of providing shelter to militant groups and has pushed the global community — the United States in particular — to censure Islamabad.
China, however, is one of Pakistan’s closest allies and is also its main arms supplier — a situation that India has also expressed concern about.