Afghanistan: China’s Wang Yi and Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar meet in Tianjin as US exits
During a meeting with Taliban’s co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who heads the group’s political committee, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi described the Taliban as an important military and political force in Afghanistan, and said he expected the Taliban to play an important role in the country’s “peace, reconciliation and reconstruction process,” according to China’s Foreign Ministry.
Beijing has invested heavily in Central Asia in recent years through its Belt and Road trade and infrastructure scheme, and China’s Foreign Ministry has previously discussed the possibility of extending the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) into Afghanistan.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Wang referred to Afghanistan as China’s largest neighbor, and emphasized the fate of the country should be “in the hands of the Afghan people.”
Wang said the withdrawal of American and NATO troops from Afghanistan under US President Joe Biden marked the “failure of the US’ policy towards Afghanistan,” as well as an opportunity for the country to stabilize and develop.
“(China) respects Afghanistan’s sovereign independence and territorial integrity, (and) always insists on non-interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs,” Wang said.
Wang also mentioned the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) which he called an “international terrorist organization,” and said the Taliban should “completely sever all ties” with the group to promote regional stability.
The Chinese government has regularly accused the ETIM of planning and undertaking terrorist attacks in Xinjiang, accusations it has used to justify its widespread crackdown in the Western region.
Speaking in India on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said both Washington and New Delhi had a “strong interest in a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan” and described the Taliban’s military advances as “deeply troubling.”
Blinken added that the US and its partners would continue to work together to “sustain the gains of the Afghan people and support regional stability after the withdrawal of coalition forces from the country.”
CNN’s Beijing bureau contributed to this article.