Islamabad: China has asked Pakistan and Afghanistan to improve their bilateral ties and “meet each other halfway”, underlining that tensions between the two countries were not conducive to regional stability.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during talks with Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz yesterday discussed a range of bilateral issues as well as the situation in Afghanistan.
Wang, who arrived here yesterday on a two-day trip after visiting Kabul, discussed the situation in the war-torn country and the relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan that have been on a steep downslide.
Wang was quoted by China’s Xinhua news agency as saying that tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan are not conducive to their stability and development as well as regional cooperation, calling on both countries to meet each other halfway so as to improve bilateral ties.
China was proposing a trilateral mechanism for cooperation for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and coordination of counter-terrorism actions between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Dawn reported.
Wang’s visit is a follow-up to the discussions the Chinese leadership had with Pakistani and Afghan leaders on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit earlier this month on counter-terrorism cooperation and revival of the Afghan peace process.
China has lately got increasingly involved in Afghanistan. Besides its bilateral engagement with both Islamabad and Kabul, it is part of a number of international processes on Afghanistan.
Beijing’s interest in Afghanistan is out of its security concerns related to presence of Uighur militants in Badakhshan province. Moreover, China’s regional engagement is driven by its economic investment in Afghanistan and the USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
For Beijing, peace and stability in Afghanistan is critical for both its own security and investments in Pakistan.
Pakistan-Afghanistan rift have deepened further after the Afghan government put blame of the recent attack in Kabul’s diplomatic area on Islamabad.