China to host 3rd meeting of foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighbours | World News - Hindustan Times
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China to host 3rd meeting of foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighbours

BySutirtho Patranobis I Edited by Amit Chanda
Mar 28, 2022 09:18 PM IST

The ministers’ meeting comes days after foreign minister Wang Yi’s unannounced visit to Afghanistan last week where he met the country’s leadership - it was the first by a Chinese minister after the Taliban came to power last August.

China will host the third meeting of the foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries on March 30-31, the Chinese foreign ministry announced on Monday as Beijing and “all-weather ally” Pakistan firm up their influence in the Taliban-ruled country.

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi (right) with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, acting deputy prime minister of the Afghan Taliban’s caretaker government, in Kabul, Afghanistan on March 24, 2022. (AP)
Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi (right) with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, acting deputy prime minister of the Afghan Taliban’s caretaker government, in Kabul, Afghanistan on March 24, 2022. (AP)

Chinese State councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi will also host a dialogue between the foreign ministers and the acting foreign minister of Afghanistan’s interim government, Amir Khan Muttaqi, on the sidelines of the main meeting, ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Monday.

When asked Wang Wenbin didn’t directly answer whether India had been invited to the meeting but Beijing seems to have blanked out New Delhi from it. “I already announced the information and have nothing else to add,” he said at Monday’s ministry briefing when asked whether India was invited.

The ministers’ meeting comes days after foreign minister Wang Yi’s unannounced visit to Afghanistan last week where he met the country’s leadership - it was the first by a Chinese minister after the Taliban came to power last August.

Foreign ministers or representatives from Pakistan, Iran, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan will attend the meeting to be held in Tunxi in Anhui province in eastern China.

“Later, Wang will chair the ‘Afghanistan’s neighbours + Afghanistan’ foreign ministers’ dialogue. Acting FM of the Afghan Interim Government Amir Khan Muttaqi will be invited to attend the dialogue. The foreign ministers of Indonesia and Qatar will be invited as guests,” the spokesperson said.

Pakistan, which along with China and Russia kept their embassies opened in Kabul as the Taliban besieged and then seized the capital, held the first meeting of the foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries on September 8 last year.

It was held a day after the Afghan Taliban announced the formation of an interim government. The second meeting was held in Tehran in October last year.

Neither have formally recognised the Taliban interim government but Beijing and Islamabad seem to follow a coordinated policy in gradually legitimising the Afghan militant group’s efforts to secure international recognition.

On this week’s meeting, spokesperson Wang Wenbin said it will help to build consensus among the neighbours on the issue of Afghanistan, discuss how to promote stability in the country and support its people.

“By hosting the third meeting, China looks forward to putting consensus among neighbouring countries, discussing ways to achieve stability and support the Afghan people and also share our voice with the rest of the international community,” he said.

China shares a narrow border with Afghanistan in the northwestern Xinjiang province.

China has repeatedly told the Taliban regime to rein in militants belonging to the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), who, Beijing claims, are inciting terrorism and separatism in Xinjiang.

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