As the world faces the greatest threat of nuclear war since the Cuban Missle Crisis, President Joe Biden decided at a recent fundraiser in Los Angeles to pick a fight with nuclear-armed Pakistan, calling it “one of the most dangerous nations in the world.”
The remark at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event prompted “disappointment and concern” from Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which on Saturday contacted the U.S. ambassador to voice the nation’s displeasure with the characterization.
In what appeared to be an attempt at acknowledging that “there’s a lot going on” in the world, Biden asked attendees, “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?”
The president touted the extensive amount of time he has spent with Chinese President Xi Jinping, claiming, “I’ve traveled 17,000 miles with him.”
“This is a guy who understands what he wants but has an enormous, enormous array of problems,” Biden said, according to the White House transcript. “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.”
Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took to Twitter to refute Biden’s statement.
“Let me reiterate unequivocally: Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state and we are proud that our nuclear assets have the best safeguards as per IAEA requirements,” he wrote. “We take these safety measures with the utmost seriousness. Let no one have any doubts.”
Let me reiterate unequivocally: Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state and we are proud that our nuclear assets have the best safeguards as per IAEA requirements. We take these safety measures with the utmost seriousness. Let no one have any doubts.
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) October 15, 2022
To reporters, Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari stated that, if there is concern about nuclear power, it should be directed at India, Pakistan’s long-time adversary in the fight for control over the contested Himalayan region of Kashmir.
“Pakistan’s Acting Foreign Secretary Jauhar Saleem summoned U.S. Ambassador Donald Blome on Saturday and criticized the ‘unwarranted remarks,’ saying that they ‘were not based on ground reality or facts,'” Fox News reports.
According to a readout from Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “It was made clear that Pakistan was a responsible nuclear state and its impeccable stewardship of the nuclear program and adherence to global standards and international best practices was well acknowledged, including by the IAEA.”
The damning remark from Biden comes less than a month after Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Zardari to commemorate the 75th anniversary of U.S.-Pakistan Relations.
Blinken discussed U.S. efforts to assist Pakistan in the wake of “historic and catastrophic storms” that affected 33 million of the nation’s citizens.
“We will continue to stand by Pakistan, to stand by its people, today and in the days to come, because that’s what we’ve done for each other in both directions through much of our shared history,” he told attendees of the event at the National Museum of American Diplomacy on September 26.
Zardari, too, spoke at the event.
“I absolutely agree that the Pakistan-U.S. relationship is not only resilient, we have stood the test of time. And we’ve proved throughout history that when we work together, we achieve great things,” he said. “And I believe that when we don’t work together, then we fumble, then we falter, then things go wrong.”
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