Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the U.S. ambassador on Saturday to express their “disappointment and concern” after President Joe Biden called Pakistan “one of the most dangerous nations in the world.”
The president made the remark at a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Los Angeles while discussing Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“This 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,” Biden said at the event, according to a transcript posted by the White House.
Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that his country takes nuclear safety measures “with the utmost seriousness.”
“Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state and we are proud that our nuclear assets have the best safeguards as per IAEA requirements,” Sharif tweeted on Saturday.
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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.”
“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,” a readout from Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
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Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari told reporters that any concern about a nuclear power should be directed at India, who Pakistan has fought wars with over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
Pakistan successfully tested a nuclear weapon for the first time in 1998.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.