Xi reiterates China's respect for Afghanistan's sovereignty, stresses enhanced coordination with Russia on Afghan issue in phone call with Putin
Published: Aug 25, 2021 09:54 PM
Afghans crowd a road as they wait to board a US military aircraft out of the country, at a military airport in Kabul on Friday, days after the Taliban's takeover of the capital. At least 40 have died in a stampede or from gunshots around the US military-controlled airport area. Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday reiterated China's respect for Afghanistan's sovereignty, independence and its non-interference approach during a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, stressing that China is willing to enhance coordination with Russia and the international community to encourage all Afghan parties to form an inclusive political structure, and sever ties with all terrorist groups.

The Chinese President's remarks came after senior Chinese officials and diplomats have stressed the need for a political settlement on the issue, condemned the US' wanton sanctions on Afghanistan, and called on the international community to help the nation enhance its ability to achieve self-development.

Chinese observers believe Xi and Putin's conversation with a focus on the Afghan issue was a "strategic" exchange, which indicated China and Russia stand together in helping reconstruct peace, stability and development in Afghanistan on the basis of respecting the will and choice of the Afghan people.

In a phone conversation on Wednesday with his Russian counterpart, Xi stressed that China respects Afghanistan's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, insists on not interfering in its domestic affairs, and has always played a constructive role in promoting a political solution to the Afghan issue.  

Xi said that China is willing to strengthen communication and coordination with the broader international community including Russia on the Afghan issue, and called for concerted efforts to encourage all factions in Afghanistan to build an open and inclusive political structure through consultation, implement moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies, thoroughly dissociate from all terrorist groups, and maintain friendly relations with the rest of the world, especially neighboring countries. 

Putin said that the current changes in the Afghan situation showed that outside forces' forcibly promoting their political models did not work in some countries and will only bring destruction and disaster to these countries. Russia and China share similar stances and interests on the Afghan issue. 

Russia is willing to closely communicate with China and actively participate in a multilateral mechanism on the Afghan issue to promote a peaceful transition, crack down on terrorism, cut off drug smuggling, prevent the spillover of security risks from Afghanistan, resist interference and destruction from outside forces and safeguard regional stability, Putin said. 

Yang Jin, an associate research fellow at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the exchange between top leaders of China and Russia again showed that the two major powers are acting as responsible countries in helping address the chaos in Afghanistan and maintain the international order.

To restore peace, stability and order in Afghanistan at an early date, China and Russia can play a big role after the hasty and irresponsible withdrawal of the US, Yang said.  

Coordinating the interested parties including the Afghan Taliban and neighboring countries and regions, combating terrorists in Central Asia, and pushing forward practical and beneficial projects including those under the Belt and Road Initiative when security and stability are restored in the war-torn country are the conducive ways for the two major powers to help boost its recovery and revitalization, Yang noted.

The phone conversation came after senior Chinese officials and diplomats have called for political settlement on the Afghan issue and expressed hope for restoring peace and stability to the war-torn country. 

Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, on Tuesday stressed that a political settlement on the Afghan issue is the only way out at the 11th BRICS Meeting of National Security Advisors on Tuesday via video link at the invitation of Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

The international community should respect the will and choice of the Afghan people and encourage Afghanistan to build a broad and inclusive political structure that suits its national conditions, the senior diplomat said.

Efforts must be made to fight terrorism in all forms, and Afghanistan must never again become a gathering place for terrorist and extremist forces, he noted.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag exchanged views on the situation in Afghanistan as apart from discussing bilateral ties in a telephone conversation on Tuesday.

Noting that Afghanistan faces multiple challenges, Wang said complex conflicts of ethnic groups and religious sects, poverty and refugee issues need to be resolved and risks of a civil war triggered by regional conflicts must be avoided.

He said that the international community is gradually forming a consensus on Afghanistan that is to build an open and inclusive political structure, implement moderate domestic and foreign policies, and thoroughly disassociate from all terrorist groups.

Wang said that as the initiator of the Afghan issue, the US should not simply walk away or impose sanctions on Afghanistan. The official added that it is the US' responsibility to properly handle chaos around the Kabul airport, provide necessary economic, humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and help realize the smooth transition in the country through concrete actions.

In addition, Ambassador Chen Xu, China's Permanent Representative to the UN Office at Geneva, made a statement at the Special Session of the Human Rights Council on Afghanistan on Tuesday.

Chen said military personnel of the US, the UK and Australia must be held accountable for their violations of human rights in Afghanistan, and the resolution of this Special Session should cover this issue.

China encourages and hopes that the Afghan Taliban will follow through its positive statements, unite with all parties and ethnic groups in Afghanistan, establish an open and inclusive political framework that fits its national conditions and wins public support through dialogue and consultations, and adopt moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies, Chen said.

It is also hoped that the Afghan Taliban will curb terrorist and criminal acts, ensure a smooth transition, and enable the war-torn Afghan people to leave war and turmoil and rebuild their homeland as soon as possible, Chen noted.

Yang Jin noted that the voices of senior Chinese diplomats conveyed China's expectations for the Afghan Taliban to follow its commitment to cut off all ties with terrorists, extremists and separatists - the "Three Evils" - in the region, and make sure Afghanistan does not become a breeding ground for those forces.