China says respects choices of Afghan people, calls for smooth political transition


BEIJING, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) — China respects the choices of the Afghan people and hopes for a smooth transition in the Afghan situation, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Monday.

The Taliban said on Sunday that the war in Afghanistan has ended and they will soon declare the establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. They will take responsible actions to ensure the safety of Afghan citizens and foreign missions in Afghanistan.

In response, spokesperson Hua Chunying said the situation in Afghanistan has undergone major changes and China respects the wishes and choices of the Afghan people.

China expects the Taliban to fulfill its commitment to ensure a smooth transition of the situation in Afghanistan, curb all kinds of terrorism and criminal acts, keep the Afghan people away from wars and rebuild their beautiful homeland, she said.

In response to a question on whether China has contact with the Taliban and recognizes the Taliban regime, Hua said China has maintained contact with the Afghan Taliban on the basis of fully respecting Afghan national sovereignty and the will of all factions in the country, and has always played a constructive role in promoting the political settlement of the Afghan issue.

On July 28, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met in Tianjin with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, political chief of Afghanistan’s Taliban.

“We hope the Taliban will unite with all parties and ethnic groups in Afghanistan to establish a broad and inclusive political structure that suits its own national conditions to lay the foundation for realizing a lasting peace in Afghanistan,” she added.

On many occasions, the Taliban has expressed the hope of developing sound relations with China, saying they look forward to China’s participation in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan, and that they will never allow any forces to use the Afghan territory to endanger China, according to the spokesperson.

She said that China always respects the sovereign independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, never interferes in the internal affairs of Afghanistan, and always pursues a friendly policy toward all the Afghan people.

“China respects the right of the Afghan people to independently determine their own destiny, and stands ready to develop good-neighborly, friendly and cooperative relations with Afghanistan, and to play a constructive role in the peace and reconstruction of Afghanistan,” Hua said.

The United States and several European countries are evacuating their embassy staff from the country. In response to a query on whether China has any plans to withdraw its embassy, Hua said the Chinese embassy in Afghanistan is still operating normally, and the Chinese ambassador and embassy staff are still performing their duties.

Most of the Chinese citizens in Afghanistan have already returned to China according to arrangements made by the Chinese embassy, but there are still a few people who have chosen to stay there voluntarily. The embassy maintains close contact with them, and will continue to pay close attention to the situation in Afghanistan and provide the necessary services and assistance to all Chinese citizens in Afghanistan, Hua said. Enditem