New Delhi: Chinese government spokesperson on Monday said that Beijing is ready to deepen “friendly and cooperative” relations with Afghanistan. This comes after the Taliban captured Kabul on Sunday, thereby seizing control of the country.
Beijing looks to maintain unofficial ties with the Taliban which it established throughout the US’ withdrawal from Afghanistan.
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The ties being built were for all to see when a top-level Taliban delegation met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Tianjin last month.
The delegation assured China that Afghanistan would not be used as a base for militants, putting to rest Beijing’s concerns over the minority Uyghur separatists using Afghan as their staging point, news agency AFP reported.
China in response offered economic support and investment for the reconstruction of Afghanistan which has been ravaged by clashes between the Taliban and Afghan forces.
On Monday, in an official statement, China “welcomed” the chance to deepen ties with Afghanistan.
“The Taliban have repeatedly expressed their hope to develop good relations with China, and that they look forward to China’s participation in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, as quoted by AFP.
“We welcome this. China respects the right of the Afghan people to independently determine their own destiny and is willing to continue to develop… friendly and cooperative relations with Afghanistan,” she added.
Hua expressed hope for the Taliban to “ensure a smooth transition” of power in line with its promises to negotiate an “open and inclusive Islamic government” while also ensuring the safety of Afghans and foreign citizens.
According to the government spokesperson, China’s embassy in Kabul remains operational even though Beijing started evacuating Chinese citizens from the country months ago amid the escalating tensions and increasingly violent situation.
China has been critical of what it deems America’s hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan, calling it a US leadership failure.