Pakistan has summoned the US ambassador to the country as it fumed over President Biden’s remarks that it is one of the “most dangerous nations in the world.”
Biden made the dig while discussing the threat of nuclear war from Russia during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Reception speech Thursday.
“What I think is maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world: Pakistan. Nuclear weapons without any cohesion,” the president said at the event, held at a private Los Angeles home.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari summoned US Ambassador Donald Blome over Biden’s comments, which were published in a transcript on the White House website.
“As far as the question of the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets are concerned, we meet all – each and every – international standard in accordance with the [International Atomic Energy Agency],” Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said at a press conference.
In recent weeks, Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to discharge nuclear warfare in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the likes of which Biden claims would unleash a nuclear “Armageddon.” Biden reiterated his belief Russia’s nuclear risk is the highest since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, which made his comments regarding Pakistan all the more surprising for the country’s officials.
Bhutto-Zardari, who recently visited Washington, said the White House raised no concerns over Pakistan’s nuclear program.
Bhutto-Zardari chalked up Biden’s statements to miscommunication and said he didn’t believe it would negatively impact the relationship between Pakistan and the US because Biden did not make them at a formal event.
In a statement, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif called Biden’s remarks factually incorrect and misleading, emphasizing Pakistan’s dedication to following global standards for nuclear energy.
“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,” Sharif said on Twitter.