China has urged Pakistan and Afghanistan to enhance cooperation for the political settlement of the Afghan conflict. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on a range of bilateral issues as well as the situation in Afghanistan.
The discussions centred around the situation in Afghanistan and the relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan that have been on a steep downslide due to differences over the strategy to fight terrorism, Dawn quoted sources as saying. China has urged Pakistan and Afghanistan to normalise ties and enhance cooperation for the political settlement of the Afghan conflict.
China was proposing a trilateral mechanism for cooperation for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and coordination of counterterrorism actions between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the report said.
Wang’s visit is a follow-up to the discussions the Chinese leadership had with Pakistani and Afghan leaders on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit earlier this month on counterterrorism cooperation and revival of the Afghan peace process.
Wang reached Islamabad yesterday after visiting Kabul where he held talks with Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani and National Security Adviser Haneef Atmar. China has lately got increasingly involved in Afghanistan. Besides its bilateral engagement with both Islamabad and Kabul, it is part of a number of international processes on Afghanistan.
Beijing’s interest in Afghanistan is out of its security concerns related to presence of Uighur militants in Badakhshan province. Moreover, China’s regional engagement is driven by its economic investment in Afghanistan and the USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. For Beijing, peace and stability in Afghanistan is critical for both its own security and investments in Pakistan.
Pakistan-Afghanistan rift have deepened further after the Afghan government put blame of the recent attack in Kabul’s diplomatic area on Islamabad.