China vows to back ‘Afghan-led’ peace process
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi voiced support for an "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process" to end the decades-old conflict in the country during his unannounced trip to Kabul on Saturday.
China has recently stepped-up its diplomatic engagements in the region, making multi-billion-dollar investments in neighboring Pakistan, and eyeing mineral resources in Afghanistan. Analysts see the latest visit as part of regional goals of China.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wang praised Afghanistan's efforts for peace and gave his assurance of China's cooperation in the "Kabul Process", and of the country's "comprehensive support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process".
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani launched the "Kabul Process" last month, which came days after a string of deadly terrorist attacks in the Afghan capital that killed more than 150 people.
Ghani aims to streamline all local, international, official and back-channel efforts for the sake of peace in Afghanistan.
During his 45-minute long meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Kazakh capital Astana on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Conference (SCO) Summit, the two leaders agreed to revive the Quadrilateral Coordination Group comprising the U.S., China, Pakistan and Afghanistan that is tasked with reaching a peace deal with the Taliban.
A Taliban delegation had also attended the first meeting of the QCG held in northeastern Pakistani city of Murree but despite some initial breakthrough, the news about the death of Mullah Omar -- the slain leader of the Taliban -- failed to yield desired results. The Afghan Taliban have since rejected all calls for cease-fire and peace talks.
Wang also met his counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani.
Rabbani thanked China for its important role in peace, stability and economic development of Afghanistan.
He called China's role significant in supporting Afghanistan's demand for "honest and practical cooperation and coordination among regional countries", the statement added.