China and Pakistan discuss ‘new changes’ in Afghanistan situation

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KABUL (TCA) — China’s Foreign Ministry says that Chinese and Pakistani officials had a “deep discussion about new changes to the situation in Afghanistan”, Afghan broadcaster TOLOnews reported.

Senior Chinese and Pakistani diplomats on December 25 discussed “new changes” to the situation in Afghanistan, China’s foreign ministry said, as quoted in a report by Reuters.

The discussions come amid the US President Donald Trump’s possible decision to withdraw a “significant” number of troops from Afghanistan.

China, a close ally of Pakistan, has been deepening its economic and political ties with Kabul and is using its influence to try to bring the two neighbors closer.

China’s Foreign Ministry said the Chinese government’s top diplomat State Councilor Wang Yi and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had a “deep discussion about new changes to the situation in Afghanistan and reached a broad consensus”.

“Both sides believe that military means cannot resolve the Afghanistan issue, and promoting political reconciliation is the only realistic way,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The two sides welcome the various efforts made by all parties and are willing to maintain close communication and strategic coordination,” the statement said.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang visited Kabul earlier this month, where he pledged to help Afghanistan and Pakistan overcome their longstanding suspicions of each other.

Pakistan Foreign Minister and his delegation met with President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul on December 24 where the two sides discussed Afghanistan-Pakistan relations, bilateral issues, Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process and next steps after intra-Afghan talks, the Afghan Presidential Palace said.

Sergey Kwan

TCA