China and the Afghan Taliban have agreed to set up a working-level mechanism to accelerate the dialogue process, Beijing announced on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged the US and its allies to engage with the Taliban “in a rational and pragmatic manner” to prevent Afghanistan from sliding into a humanitarian crisis and terrorist chaos because they bear ‘unshirkable responsibility’ for Afghanistan’s troubles.
Wang made the remarks in Doha during his first meetings with senior Taliban officials.
The high-level meetings in the Qatari capital on Monday and Tuesday signaled closer ties between Beijing and the Taliban, observers told South China Morning Post.
Also on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the second meeting of foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries via video link.
Foreign ministers from China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Pakistan exchanged views on building lasting peace in Afghanistan during the meeting, a report on CGTN said.
Later, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and discussed bilateral ties and the situation in Afghanistan.
Noting that China and Qatar “are important strategic partners”, Wang said China appreciates Qatar’s commitment to developing friendship with China and deepening bilateral cooperation.
China is ready to work with Qatar to implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state through jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative and pushing for progress in the China-Qatar strategic partnership, he said.
Wang said China appreciates Qatar’s active mediation and the unique role it plays on the Afghan issue.
China hopes that Qatar will take an active part in the Global Development Initiative and join the China-Arab Data Security Cooperation Initiative as soon as possible to jointly promote global sustainable development and healthy development of digital economy, Wang said.
For his part, the Qatari top diplomat lauded great leaps achieved in developing the bilateral ties in recent years, adding that Qatar appreciated China’s adherence to the principle of non-interference in internal affairs of all countries.
Qatar is ready to work with China to expand mutually beneficial cooperation within the framework of jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative, he stressed.
Terming China as the most important investment destination for Qatar in Asia, he expressed Qatar’s willingness to increase investment in China and actively explore trilateral cooperation.
On the situation in Afghanistan, the two sides agreed that the international community should take practical actions to ease the possible humanitarian crisis and promote the situation in a direction conducive to maintaining stability in Afghanistan as well as regional peace and security.