US says ‘confident’ Pakistan can secure nukes after Biden uproar


WASHINGTON: The United States said Monday that it had confidence in Pakistan’s capability to control its nuclear magazine after President Joe Biden expressed alarm, leading Islamabad to summon the US minister.

“The United States is confident of Pakistan’s commitment and its capability to secure its nuclear means,” State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel told journalists.

“The US has always viewed a secure and prosperous Pakistan as critical to US interests and, more astronomically, the US values our long- standing cooperation with Pakistan,” he said.

Biden made the off- the- cuff reflections on Pakistan’s nuclear programme Thursday while at a private Democratic Party fundraiser in California where he began to bandy challenges facing President Xi Jinping of China, a close supporter of Pakistan.

“And what I suppose is perhaps one of the most dangerous nations in the world Pakistan. Nuclear munitions without any cohesion,” Biden said, according to a White House paraphrase.

Pakistan — proud to be the only declared nuclear power in the Islamic world — summoned US Ambassador Donald Blome to lodge a kick.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif twittered that Pakistan was a “responsible nuclear state” and that it takes safety measures “with the utmost soberness.”

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto- Zardari said that Biden’s reflections shouldn’t hurt relations, noting that the chairman wasn’t speaking at an sanctioned function.

But Bhutto- Zardari, who lately visited Washington, called for further commerce, with Biden showing little interest in tête-à-tête engaging his Pakistani counterparts.

Patel noted, still, that USAID principal Samantha Power and State Department Counselor Derek Chollet have both visited since ruinous cataracts hit Pakistan.

“This is a relationship we view as important and it’s commodity that we are going to continue to remain deeply engaged in,” he said.

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