China has historically taken a back seat in Afghanistan. But with the departure of American forces and the Taliban taking power, Beijing is taking on a greater role to try to ensure the long-term stability of one of its most troubled neighbours.
Trans-Himalayan forum reflects balancing act Beijing must undertake with troubled neighbour if regional security is to be improved.
Taliban’s acting minister for commerce and industry, Haji Nooruddin Azizi, will travel to Beijing, ministry spokesman tells Reuters, in move underscoring China’s growing ties with Kabul.
Amir Khan Muttaqi also gives ‘effective guarantee’ of Chinese nationals’ safety in the country during talks with counterpart Wang Yi on sidelines of regional forum in Tibet.
Most foreign nations – including India – do not officially recognise Afghanistan’s Taliban government, which seized power following the collapse of the Western-backed government more than two years ago.
Beijing is in the unusual position of maintaining an ambassador and embassy in a country ruled by a regime it does not officially recognise.
The mining contracts are the Taliban’s biggest such round of deals since seizing power two years ago.
China has been reluctant to fill the void left by the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, with pundits citing ‘no illusions about great influence over the Taliban’ and lingering security risks.
But the risk of sanctions and security factors mean Chinese companies are still reluctant to invest in Afghanistan, says academic.
State media heralded the departure of a cargo from Lanzhou, a key transport hub, but analysts said its main importance is the symbolism.
Decision comes after Chinese foreign ministry’s external security affairs chief holds first such meeting with Iranian and Pakistani counterparts in Beijing.
Call comes as foreign ministers of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan meet for first time since Taliban took power in Kabul.
Amir Khan Mutaqi is barred by sanctions from leaving Afghanistan but was granted an exemption for a trip to Islamabad to meet his neighbouring counterpart.
Incidents like a suicide bombing in 2021 that killed nine Chinese nationals have prompted concerns for those working and living in Pakistan.
Analysts said the comments at a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting were tailored to his Indian hosts and other members.
Qin will meet a Taliban representative for three-way talks during the visit, where he will also hold talks with senior Pakistani officials.
Qin makes the appeal, which also asks the fundamentalist group to work with neighbouring countries, during a visit to Uzbekistan.
Counterterrorism will be a key factor for China to recognise the Taliban’s international status and further economic ties, observer says.
Chinese foreign minister will meet Uzbek president and acting foreign minister on Wednesday and discuss Taliban-ruled neighbour with counterparts from region on Thursday.
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang issues request in call with Taliban counterpart just weeks after attack on Chinese-owned hotel in Kabul.
At least five people were killed and dozens wounded by a suicide bomber near the Afghan foreign ministry in Kabul on Wednesday.
Despite Taliban assurances that security is ‘guaranteed’ for Chinese nationals and other foreigners, militant attacks likely to continue, observers say.
Weeks after Islamic State targets Chinese nationals, Taliban spokesman says regime has ‘obligation’ to protect foreigners, welcomes investment and expertise from China.
Xinjiang Central Asia Petroleum and Gas will invest up to US$150 million in the first year and US$540 million over the subsequent three years to explore five oil and gas blocks that are estimated to hold 87 million barrels of crude oil.