Wang Yi, left, the Chinese foreign minister, walking with his Afghan counterpart,
Salahuddin Rabbani, on Tuesday at the Foreign Ministry in
Credit Pool photo by Mark Schiefelbein
BEIJING — Chinese officials are urging the government of Afghanistan to restart peace talks with the Taliban after the last round of discussions collapsed, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has said.
The statement by China late Tuesday was a sign that its leaders were asserting their commitment to the nascent peace process despite problems after the major countries involved learned last year that a Taliban founder, Mullah Muhammad Omar, had been dead for two years. That caused a split in the Taliban ranks and raised questions among the participants in the talks.
The Afghan and
governments are hoping that United States will exert greater influence
in the talks on China , which helped create the
Taliban in the 1990s and is a Chinese ally. Pakistan
Li Yuanchao, the Chinese vice president, and Wang Yi, the Chinese foreign minister, met in
on Tuesday with Salahuddin Rabbani, the Afghan
foreign minister. Beijing
Afterward, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced: “Wang Yi said that as a peaceful mediator of the Afghan issue,
supports the ‘Afghan-led and
Afghan-owned’ reconciliation process. China appreciates the move by the
Afghan government to restart the negotiations with the Taliban.” China
The announcement said this was “the right approach to achieve long-term stability in
Fighting between the Taliban and the Afghan government has worsened in the last year, as the Taliban have occupied more land and laid siege to important cities. The death toll of Afghan soldiers and civilians in 2015 reached its highest point in years.
The Xinjiang region in far western China shares a border with Afghanistan and Pakistan, and according to Chinese officials and analysts, Chinese leaders are concerned that ethnic Uighurs in the region are coming under the influence of violent, radical groups from outside China. Violence between Uighurs and ethnic Han has been rising in Xinjiang in recent years. Afghan officials say they have captured dozens of militant Uighurs in
President Xi Jinping of
has announced strategic
economic plans for China and China Central Asia, and a peaceful could play a bigger role in
those plans. According to the Foreign Ministry, Mr. Rabbani told Mr. Wang on
Tuesday that “Afghanistan is willing to continue to expand its mutual interests
with China and actively participate in the construction of ‘One Belt, One
Road,’ ” a reference to the name that Mr. Xi uses for his regional economic
The Foreign Ministry also listed points on which
and China had reached consensus,
including an acknowledgment of Afghanistan ’s desire to be a member of the
Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Asian Infrastructure
Investment Bank, two multinational institutions of which Afghanistan was a founder. China
On Monday, the day of Mr. Rabbani’s arrival in
, China , one of the country’s leading
universities, hosted a news conference to discuss a 2015 survey of Afghans
conducted by the Asia Foundation, a nongovernmental organization based in Peking University . The results showed that
Afghans’ optimism and confidence in their government and their country’s future
had plummeted to the lowest points in a decade. Representatives of Chinese
commercial interests in San Francisco were at the news conference
and raised questions about the country’s stability. Afghanistan
Follow Edward Wong on Twitter @comradewong.
Yufan Huang contributed research.