China is treading carefully in Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of the city and Afghans and foreign nationals were seen fleeing the country through Kabul’s airport.
At a regular news briefing on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying stated that Beijing “respects the will and choice of the Afghan people,” but added that the “situation in Afghanistan has undergone fundamental changes.”
Hua made the statement after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Mullah Abdul Ghani, the head of the Afghan Taliban political organization, in Tianjin on July 28.
China “expressed the hope” at the time that “all factions and ethnic groups in Afghanistan will unite… and independently construct a broad-based and inclusive political framework that meets Afghanistan’s national conditions,” according to Hua.
“This is China’s consistent position on the Afghan issue,” Hua said without providing further details.
The Chinese spokeswoman later clarified her comment, saying China’s position on Afghanistan is “non-interference” and “respect [for] the right of people of all countries to independently choose their development path and decide their destiny and future.”
Following the Taliban’s seizure of Kabul, Beijing may be emphasizing good relations with the Taliban. Despite the violence in the capital, Hua said China’s diplomats in the nation had not been evacuated.
According to the Financial Times, Claude Rakisits, a former Australian security officer, the Taliban will prefer strong ties with China if “that entails plenty of Chinese investment into Afghanistan.”
China has no interest in interfering in Afghanistan, according to Liu Zongyi, a foreign policy analyst at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies.
Last month, China obtained a guarantee from the Taliban, according to Liu, in which the group agreed not to use Afghanistan as a terrorist base to strike China.
“We’ll see if the Taliban keeps its promise or not,” Liu said.