12/05/2023, 17.26
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Taliban send first ambassador to China

Former government spokesman Bilal Karimi arrives in Beijing. For China’s Foreign Ministry, further steps are needed for full diplomatic relations. The move comes just weeks after Afghanistan took part in the Belt and Road Initiative Forum.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Afghanistan has sent an ambassador to the People's Republic of China, the first diplomatic official posted in any country since the Taliban seized power in Kabul in August 2021.

Former Afghan government spokesman Bilal Karimi arrived in Beijing last week to take up his post. “He is the official accredited ambassador of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to the People's Republic of China," Ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi told Reuters.

The new step in bilateral relations follows China’s decision to send an ambassador, Zhao Sheng, to Kabul, the first country to do so after Taliban came back to power. On that occasion, China described it as a normal rotation of the ambassador to Afghanistan.

Nevertheless, in today’s daily press briefing in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin downplayed the arrival of an ambassador representing the Taliban regime, noting that full diplomatic recognition will only take place after further steps are taken.

“As a long-standing friendly neighbour of Afghanistan, China believes that Afghanistan should not be excluded from the international community,” Wang said. “We hope,” he added, that “Afghanistan will further respond to the expectations of the international community”.

For this, it will have to “build an open and inclusive political structure, adopt moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies, firmly combat all forms of terrorist forces, develop friendly relations with other countries, especially with its neighbours, and integrate itself into the world community.”

Ultimately, for China, “diplomatic recognition of the Afghan government will come naturally as the concerns of various parties are effectively addressed.”

Still, the presence of a Taliban ambassador in Beijing is a major political fact. It follows the visit a few weeks ago of an official delegation of the Islamic Emirate to the Belt and Road Forum, which marked ten years of Xi Jinping's "new silk road".

“We requested China to allow us to be a part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and Belt and Road Initiative... (and) are discussing technical issues today," said Afghan acting Commerce Minister Haji Nooruddin Azizi, who led the delegation on that occasion.

"China, which invests all over the world, should also invest in Afghanistan... we have everything they need, such as lithium, copper and iron," he added. "Afghanistan is now, more than ever, ready for investment.”

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