Islamabad, Oct 15 (EFE).- The Pakistani government reacted indignantly Saturday to United States President Joe Biden’s description of nuclear-armed Pakistan as “one of the most dangerous nations in the world.”
Though Biden made the remarks in the context of a discussion of US foreign policy during a private Democratic Party fundraiser, a transcript of the statement was posted subsequently on the White House website.
Talking about his exchanges with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Biden asked rhetorically: “Did anybody think we’d be in a situation where China is trying to figure out its role relative to Russia and relative to India and relative to Pakistan?
“This (Xi) is a guy who understands what he wants but has an enormous, enormous array of problems. How do we handle that? How do we handle that relative to what’s going on in Russia? And what I think is maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world: Pakistan. Nuclear weapons without any cohesion,” the US leader said.
The publication of the transcript was followed hours later by word that the US ambassador to Pakistan, Donald Blome, had been summoned to the foreign ministry in Islamabad.
“Pakistan rejects the remarks reportedly made by the US President, which are factually incorrect and misleading,” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said in a statement.
“Over the past decades, Pakistan has proven be a most responsible nuclear state, wherein its nuclear program is managed through a technically sound and foolproof command and control system,” he said.
Sharif said that his country has demonstrated a “very strong commitment to global standards, including those of IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) on non-proliferation, safety, and security.”
Pakistan began pursuing nuclear weapons in earnest after neighboring India tested a nuclear device in 1974.
The two South Asian nations have gone to war against each other four times since 1947 and remain at odds over the status of the divided Kashmir region.
“The real threat to international peace and security is posed by ultra-nationalism, violation of human rights in regions that are struggling against illegal occupation, violation of global norms by some states, repeated nuclear security incidents and arms race among leading nuclear weapon states and introduction of new security constructs that disturb regional balance,” Sharif said.
The prime minister concluded by calling for “genuine and durable efforts … to recognize the real potential of Pakistan-US relationship, while avoiding unnecessary comments.”
Until now, Sharif’s government has enjoyed better relations with the US than that of predecessor Imran Khan, who was ousted by parliament earlier this year.
Khan, an Oxford graduate who captained the Pakistani national team that won the World Cricket Cup in 1992, continues to maintain that the US worked with the opposition to remove him because Washington was angry about his decision to go forward with a trip to Moscow on Feb, 24, the day Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.