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China slams ‘hasty’ U.S. Afghan withdrawal

The message was delivered in a phone call between Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken

China on Tuesday said the “hasty” United States withdrawal from Afghanistan had caused “a severely adverse impact” there and conveyed to Washington that it could not “on the one hand work hard to contain China” and “on the other count on China’s support” to help stabilise the country.

The message was delivered in a phone call on Tuesday between Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, which China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement took place at the latter’s request.

Mr. Wang criticised the U.S. withdrawal to Mr. Blinken as well as it’s broader Afghan strategy over the past 20 years, delivering a withering assessment of its legacy there, according to the MFA statement carrying a readout of the call.

The U.S. State Department in a brief statement said Mr. Blinken had, during the call, briefed China about developments in Afghanistan, including the security situation and efforts to bring U.S. and Chinese citizens to safety.

The MFA said Mr. Wang had “elaborated” on China’s position “saying that facts have once again proved that it is difficult to gain a foothold in a country with a completely different history, culture and national conditions by mechanically copying foreign models.”

“A regime cannot stand without the support of its people, and using power and military means to solve problems will only cause more problems. Such lessons deserve serious reflection,” he told Mr. Blinken.

He also said “the hasty U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has caused a severely adverse impact on the situation in Afghanistan and it would not be responsible if it continues to create new problems.”

He criticised the previous Donald Trump administration’s move “to remove the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement from its list of terrorist organisations and apply double standards on the issue of counter-terrorism.” Among China’s concerns in Afghanistan is the presence of ETIM jihadists there which Beijing has said has carried out attacks in its western Xinjiang region, which shares a border with Afghanistan.

Mr. Wang also said that cooperating on Afghanistan would not be possible while other tensions remained in the U.S.-China relationship. “China stands ready to have communication and dialogue with the United States to push for a soft landing of the Afghan issue, so that a new civil war or humanitarian disaster will be prevented in Afghanistan and the country will not relapse into a hotbed and shelter for terrorism,” he said.

“However, the United States cannot, on the one hand, work hard to contain and suppress China and undermine China’s legitimate rights and interests,” Mr. Wang said. “On the other hand, it counts on China’s support and cooperation. Such logic has never existed in international exchanges.”

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