China has asked Pakistan and Afghanistan to improve their bilateral ties and “meet each other halfway”, as it agreed to set up a trilateral mechanism to help reconstruct ties between Islamabad and Kabul. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during talks with Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz yesterday discussed a range of bilateral issues as well as the situation in Afghanistan.
Aziz said today that China has agreed for trilateral mechanism, including Afghanistan to help reconstruct ties between Islamabad and Kabul. After talks of Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Kabul and Islamabad, the three sides agreed to establish two important mechanisms to achieve peace, Aziz said in a statement.
Wang, who arrived here yesterday on a two-day trip after visiting Kabul, discussed the situation in the war-torn country and the relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan that have been on a steep downslide. Wang was quoted by China’s Xinhua news agency as saying that tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan are not conducive to their stability and development as well as regional cooperation, calling on both countries to meet each other halfway so as to improve bilateral ties.
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 counter-terrorism cooperation and revival of the Afghan peace process.
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.
Aziz said the Afghan conflict cannot be resolved only through military means, while a sustainable peace in Afghanistan requires a politically negotiated settlement through an Afghan-led Afghan owned peace process.
“In this context, Afghanistan, Pakistan and China agreed on the need for reviving the QCG (Quadrilateral Coordination Group) process in order to create a conducive environment for talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban,” he said.
Aziz said that during talks with the Chinese leader, Pakistan emphasised that it wants peaceful relations with all its neighbours, including India.
“We agreed on the need for strategic balance in South Asia,” he said.
Talking about bilateral relations with China, Aziz said that “Pakistan’s relations with China are the cornerstone of our foreign policy.”
“In our discussions, yesterday, we took stock of the progress made in bilateral relations, including political, strategic and economic cooperation. We identified areas for further consolidation of the ‘all weather’ relationship between Pakistan and the China,” he said.
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.
He said Wang appreciated the resolute steps taken by Pakistan to counter the menace of terrorism. Both countries agree that terrorism is a common challenge. It is also a challenge to global peace and stability.
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.
Later, Chinese foreign minister also called on President Mamnoon Hussain who appreciated Chinese efforts to bring peace in Afghanistan.
The President said this initiative will ultimately estab lish peace in the region. He said Pakistan values Chinese positive role for sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan, Radio Pakistan reported.
President also said Pakistan is committed to the policy of peaceful co-existence with all its neighbours and wants to resolve all issues with India, including Kashmir dispute, through peaceful means.
He said security of Chinese nationals working in Pakistan is the responsibility of the government and all out efforts are being made to arrest the culprits involved in abduction of two Chinese nationals. President said a special security division comprising fifteen thousand personnel has been established for the security of Chinese nationals.