- Chinese assistant foreign minister appreciates Pakistan’s Operation Zarb-e-Azb, lauds support to China to fight ETIM
China on Friday said that the announcement of the death of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had made Afghan peace process more “authoritative” as the negotiating parties now know whom they should talk to.
Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao expressed these views at the foreign ministry building while briefing a delegation comprising of journalists from Pakistan and Afghanistan on the Afghan peace talks.
This was for the first time Chinese officials made a direct reference to the fast changing developments taking place in Afghanistan in the wake of announcement of the demise of Taliban chief.
“After the announcement of death of Mullah Omar, there are some domestic changes taking place in Afghanistan. We are focused and closely monitoring these changes,” said the Chinese minister.
Asked to comment over the divisions emerging within the Taliban ranks following the start of the peace process, Liu said the factions emerging within the Taliban ranks reflected the complexity involved with the preprocess.
“We need to observe patience. Both parties will discuss safeguards. Military safeguard is not the best safeguard and we need to evolve smarter safeguards. Peace talks have just started and there are several challenges. As peace talks advance, safeguards would be discussed. In this regard, we will keep a close contact with our Pakistani counterparts,” he said, appreciating Pakistan’s constructive role in peace talks.
Liu said that the second round of talks had to take place on July 25 in Islamabad but was postponed due to certain developments in Afghanistan. “China understands compulsions of both Afghan government and the Taliban as both had decided to postpone the second round of talks,” he said, adding that China hopes that Afghan government would be ready for the talks’ commencement.
The Chinese minister also cautioned the stakeholders against skepticism, making it clear that the peace talks were the only way out for the Afghan peace and progress and this process must continue.
“Pakistan and China set the stage for peace talks as Afghan government and Taliban wanted to take this initiative forward. We will keep working for success of the peace talks as both the parties have expressed their trust in Pakistan and China,” he added.
Responding to a question about the reports of emergence of Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan, Liu said that IS was a highly dangerous force and all regional parties should be highly concerned about its expansion towards the East.
“All the countries of the region should also educate and inform their citizens about the dangerous IS. All the regional states must stand highly alert to stop the Eastwards expansion of the IS,” he added.
Asked to comment over the Zarb-e-Azb operation launched by Pakistan to crush militants’ network in north East of Pakistan, the Chinese assistant foreign minister said that China pays glowing tributes to the sacrifices offered by the people, government and the military in fighting the menace of terrorism.
“Other than smashing terror network, Pakistan has also provided support to China to fight the ETIM (East Turkistan Independence Movement),” he added.
However, in the same breath, China also warned Pakistan against the presence of terrorists on its soil. “Terrorist forces are still present in Pakistan and they can damage the Pakistani government, its people and also CPEC. We hope and will provide assistance to Pakistan to make sure that no force will be able to stop the development of CPEC,” he added.
AFGHAN, PAKISTAN RELATIONS IMPROVING:
Moreover, Liu said there have been some complications between Pakistan and Afghanistan in the past but the recent interactions have seen improvement in bilateral ties.
“In order to remove mutual mistrust and improve relations, China has encouraged start of trilateral meetings between Pakistan, Afghanistan and China. First round of talks was held in February and we are happy things are improving,” he added.
The Chinese assistant foreign minister cautioned Pakistan and Afghanistan against misunderstandings, saying that both Pakistan and Afghanistan shall bare in minds that regional peace and development are interlinked.
He said the tripartite partnership between Pakistan, Afghanistan and China is helping build consensus among Pakistan and Afghanistan. He said China and Pakistan maintain a longterm strategic relationship which is getting cemented by each day passing.
PAK, INDIA TENSIONS:
About Pakistan’s recent border conflict with India, Liu said China have also a better relationship with India which is improving.
“As a friend we don’t want to impose any idea but we would keep working to help Pakistan and India find a solution to their problems as soon as possible. We hope Pakistan and India will not allow escalating their differences into a conflict. The purpose of building (CPEC) is to promote regional development. It is important for the countries of entire region to support this initiative.”
Chinese assistant foreign minister also hinted China’s skepticism about Indian bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council.
“As far the reform of the UNSC is concerned, China believes that the number of permanent members in the UNSC should increase with consensus of all the member states and there should be no rush towards the subject matter. Consensus is key in this regard,” he added.