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China says it will maintain communication with new Afghan government

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China said on Wednesday it is ready to maintain communication with the leaders of the new Taliban government in Afghanistan, calling its establishment a “necessary step” in reconstruction.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin made the comment at a daily briefing in Beijing when asked if China would recognise the new government, whose leaders were named on Tuesday.

The Taliban drew from its inner high echelons to fill top posts in Afghanistan’s new government, including an associate of the group’s founder as premier and a wanted man on a US terrorism list as interior minister.

China respects the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, Wang said.

“We hope the new Afghanistan authorities will listen broadly to people of all races and factions, so as to meet the aspirations of its own peoples and the expectations of the international community,” he added.

Taliban-China ties

After the Taliban took power in August, China had called for an “open and inclusive” government to be established. It had also expressed willingness to deepen “friendly and cooperative” relations with Afghanistan.

Last month, Hua Chunying, a spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry, had said, “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.”

“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 had added.

That followed Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen saying China had played a constructive role in promoting peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and was welcome to contribute to the rebuilding of the country.

“China is a big country with a huge economy and capacity — I think they can play a very big role in the rebuilding, rehabilitation, reconstruction of Afghanistan,” Shaheen had told CGTN television in an interview.

More recently, a Taliban spokesperson was also quoted by the media as saying that they wanted to have Afghanistan incorporated in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Prior to that, the Taliban had described China as its “most important partner”, reiterating that Afghanistan looked to Beijing to rebuild the country and exploit its rich copper deposits as the war-ravaged country faced widespread hunger and fears of an economic collapse.

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