Economic sanctions on Afghanistan must end: Chinese FM

'Afghanistan's foreign exchange reserves should not be used as a bargaining chip to exert political pressure'


Reuters September 23, 2021
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during a press conference after his meeting with Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal Krishna Bahadur Mahara (not pictured) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING:

China's State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the various unilateral sanctions or restrictions on Afghanistan should be lifted as soon as possible.

Economic sanctions on Afghanistan must end, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement, citing Wang at a virtual G20 foreign ministers meeting on Afghanistan on Wednesday.

Afghanistan's foreign exchange reserves are national assets that should belong to the country's people and be used by its own people, and not be used as a bargaining chip to exert political pressure on Afghanistan, he said.

Earlier, China stated that it is ready to deepen "friendly and cooperative" relations with Afghanistan. China shares a rugged 76-kilometre (47-mile) border with Afghanistan.

A top-level Taliban delegation met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Tianjin in July, promising that Afghanistan would not be used as a base for militants.

In exchange, China offered economic support and investment for Afghanistan's reconstruction. 

For Beijing, a stable and cooperative administration in Kabul would pave the way for an expansion of its Belt and Road Initiative into Afghanistan and through the Central Asian republics, analysts say.

The Taliban meanwhile may consider China a crucial source of investment and economic support, either directly or via Pakistan – a close Beijing ally.

China has so far stopped short of officially recognising the Taliban as the new leaders of Afghanistan, but Wang Yi called them a "decisive military and political force" during the meeting in Tianjin.

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