China defends Pakistan after 'mother-ship of terrorism' comment
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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping leave after a group picture during BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit in Benaulim, in the western state of Goa, India, October 16, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Sidd
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BEIJING (Reuters) - China sprang to long-time ally Pakistan's defense on Monday after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi branded Pakistan a "mother-ship of terrorism" at a summit of BRICS nations.
Modi's remarks to a meeting of leaders from BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - escalated his diplomatic drive to isolate Pakistan, which India accuses of sponsoring cross-border terrorism.
Tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors have been running high since a Sept. 18 attack on an army base in Kashmir, near the disputed frontier with Pakistan, killed 19 Indian soldiers in the worst such assault in 14 years.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, asked about Modi's comments, said China opposed all forms of terrorism and that the international community should increase counter-terrorism cooperation.
"We also oppose the linking of terrorism to any specific country, ethnicity or religion. This is China's consistent position," she told a daily news briefing in Beijing.
"Everyone knows that India and Pakistan are victims of terrorism. Pakistan has made huge efforts and great sacrifices in fighting terrorism. I think the international community should respect this," Hua added.
China and Pakistan consider each other "all-weather friends" and have close diplomatic, economic and security ties.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)
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