China hints at friendly relations with Afghan Govt

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The spokesperson called on the Taliban to ensure the safety of Afghans and foreign citizens

Monitoring Desk

BEIJING: China is ready to deepen “friendly and cooperative” relations with Afghanistan, a government spokeswoman said on Monday, after the Taliban seized control of the country.

Beijing has sought to maintain unofficial ties with the Taliban throughout the US’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, which spurred an advance by the hardliners across the country that saw them capture the capital Kabul on Sunday.

On Monday, China said it “welcomed” the chance to deepen ties with Afghanistan, a country that has for generations been coveted for its geo-strategic importance by bigger powers.

“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 spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.

“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.”

Hua called on the Taliban to “ensure a smooth transition” of power and keep its promises to negotiate the establishment of an “open and inclusive Islamic government” and ensure the safety of Afghans and foreign citizens.

China’s embassy in Kabul remains operational, Hua said, although Beijing began evacuating Chinese citizens from the country months ago amid the deteriorating security situation.