On 13 July 2021 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met the press with Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin in Dushanbe. A journalist asked: with the recent announcement by the United States to conclude its military mission in Afghanistan on 31 August, the situation in Afghanistan has entered a critical stage. What is China’s view on it?
Wang Yi noted that the US-launched war in Afghanistan has lasted for 20 years, but peace has not yet arrived. During the time, tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have lost their lives in US military operations, and tens of millions have been displaced and become refugees. As the US pulls out of Afghanistan, it should reflect on the role it has played on the Afghan issue and think about how to fulfill its obligations to the reconciliation and reconstruction in Afghanistan.
Wang Yi said that Afghanistan is an independent and sovereign state, and the Afghan people are a people with great pride. Facts have proved once again that any forceful intervention in Afghanistan is bound to fail. As the US and NATO withdraw from Afghanistan, the Afghan people, drawing on the painful lessons, now have a new opportunity to take the future of their country and nation in their own hands.
Wang Yi said that over the years, the Afghan government has made great efforts to maintain national unity and social stability and to improve people’s livelihood, which should be recognized fairly. The Taliban, as a major military force in Afghanistan, should recognize its responsibility toward the country and the nation, make a clean break with all terrorist forces and return to Afghanistan’s political mainstream with a sense of responsibility for the country and the people.
Wang Yi pointed out that China supports and expects all parties in Afghanistan to follow the “Afghan-owned and Afghan-led” principle and proceed from the fundamental and long-term interests of Afghanistan to build a political structure that suits Afghanistan’s national conditions and has the support of the Afghan people through intra-Afghan dialogue and consultation, to jointly open up a new future for the country. Wang Yi said that as a neighbor of Afghanistan linked by mountains and rivers, China always respects the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, always pursues a friendly policy toward all Afghan people, always adheres to the basic principle of not interfering in the internal affairs of Afghanistan, and always believes that the various parties and ethnic groups of Afghanistan have the ability and wisdom to properly handle their own issues and run their own country well.
Wang Yi highlighted three most pressing priorities: First, avoid further expansion of the conflict in Afghanistan and in particular, an all-out civil war; Second, restart intra-Afghan negotiation as soon as possible to achieve political reconciliation; Third, prevent all kinds of terrorist forces from taking advantage of the situation to grow in Afghanistan and not allow Afghanistan to again become a gathering ground for terrorists.
Wang Yi shared China’s expectations for the future of Afghanistan: a country that has a broad-based and inclusive political arrangement, pursues a sound Muslim policy, resolutely strikes down on all forms of terrorism and extremist ideologies, and commits to friendly relations with all neighboring countries. China supports all efforts conducive to the realization of the above goals, and stands ready to communicate and coordinate with all parties, conduct diplomatic mediation and provide necessary facilitation to this end.
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