China won’t recognise Taliban until government formation

A July photo of Abdul Ghani Baradar, left, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.  

China on Wednesday indicated it would not consider recognising the new Taliban regime in Kabul until a government was formed.

Beijing was earlier this week the first major country to say it “stands ready to develop good-neighbourly, friendly and cooperative relations with Afghanistan” in the wake of the dramatic takeover by the Taliban and the fall of Kabul.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday clarified it was yet to recognise the Taliban regime and that would not happen until government formation.

“It is an customary international practice that the recognition of a government comes after its formation,” spokesperson Zhao Lijian said. “China’s position on the Afghan issue is clear and consistent. We hope that Afghanistan can form an open, inclusive and broadly representative government that echoes the widely shared aspirations of its own people and the international community.”

Regardless of whether the Taliban does or does not follow through on its stated commitment of forming a truly “inclusive” government — an eventuality that is by no means a given considering the group’s past record and the history of its treatment of women and minority groups — it appears to be a question of when and not if China does recognise the Taliban.

Several countries, including India, the U.S. and the U.K., have said they will not recognise a government that takes power by force and it remains to be seen how they will deal with the new regime in Kabul.

Terror outfits

China’s message has been that it would be open to working with the Taliban but called on the grouping to “make a clean break” from its links with terror outfits, particularly the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) that has carried out attacks in China’s Xinjiang region.

China had underlined that message in late July when it hosted a Taliban delegation, led by Abdul Ghani Baradar who was at the time heading its political office in Doha and is now expected to take up a prominent role in the new regime.

“As a friendly neighbour to and sincere friend of Afghanistan, China upholds a friendly policy towards the entire Afghan people,” Mr. Zhao said. “This did not, does not and will not change. China will continue to support peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan, and provide help for socio-economic development in Afghanistan as our ability permits.”

On a Taliban spokesman’s comments that “rights of women would be respected within the framework of Islamic law” and that the group “intended to form an inclusive government in Afghanistan”, Mr. Zhao said China “hopes that the Afghan Taliban and factions in Afghanistan will establish an open and inclusive political structure through dialogue and consultation, implement moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies, and earnestly protect the safety of foreign institutions and personnel in Afghanistan”.

“At the same time, we hope it will resolutely crack down on all kinds of terrorist forces, including the ETIM, and earnestly honour the commitment of not allowing any force to use Afghan territory to threaten the security of its neighbours,” he said. “China will continue to work with the international community to support peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan and help it achieve lasting peace and stability.”

He repeated China’s criticism of the speed of the U.S. withdrawal and its 20-year presence in Afghanistan, which China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday told U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in a phone call held “lessons [that] deserve serious reflection”.

“Facts have once again proved that some countries’ military intervention against a sovereign state in the name of democracy and human rights has seriously undermined the sovereignty and territorial integrity of relevant country, causing serious damage to its economic and social development and leading to massive civilian casualties and displacement,” Mr. Zhao said.

“These countries should immediately stop illegal military intervention and make concrete efforts to safeguard world peace and security and promote and protect human rights.”

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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 3:33:37 PM |

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