Chinese foreign minister tells top US diplomat world must ‘positively guide’ Taliban

BEIJING: Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a phone call on Sunday (Aug 29) that the international community should engage with Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers and “positively guide” them, China’s foreign ministry said.

Washington should work with the international community to provide economic and humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, help the new regime run governmental functions normally, maintain social stability, and stop the currency from depreciating and the cost of living from rising, Wang said, according to a statement.

“While respecting the sovereignty of Afghanistan, the US should take concrete action to help Afghanistan fight terrorism and stop violence, rather than playing double standards or fighting terrorism selectively,” Wang said, warning that the “hasty withdrawal” could allow terrorist groups to “regroup and come back stronger”.

Chinese state TV said the call was made at the invitation of Washington.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement that Blinken and Wang spoke about “the importance of the international community holding the Taliban accountable for the public commitments they have made regarding the safe passage and freedom to travel for Afghans and foreign nationals.”

Before the chaos of the past two weeks, US officials had argued that withdrawing from Afghanistan would free up time and attention of senior US political and military leaders, as well as some military assets, to focus on the Indo-Pacific and the challenge posed by China, which the Biden administration has declared its foreign policy priority.

But China’s state-controlled media have seized on the often chaotic pullout, portraying US support for allies as fickle.

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