China won’t be the first to recognize the Taliban government, says one scientist

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Taliban fighters ride in the back of a pickup truck as they patrol a street in Kabul, Afghanistan on October 23, 2021. REUTERS / Zohra Bensemra / Files

BEIJING, Oct. 27 (Reuters) – (This Oct. 27 story corrects paragraph 14 to show the think tank is affiliated with China’s military, not the State Department)

China will not take the lead in recognizing the Afghan Taliban government and will only do so in a concerted move with Pakistan, Russia and Iran, an expert familiar with China’s foreign policy considerations told Reuters on Tuesday.

The Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August and appointed a transitional government in September with old guard Islamists in top positions.

No country has officially recognized the Taliban government, although China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with members of the interim government in Qatar this week.

“Things will be different when the four countries China, Pakistan, Russia and Iran reach consensus on this. We won’t be the first,” said Hu Shisheng, a South Asia expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICR). , the official think tank of China’s national security apparatus.

At the Beijing Xiangshan Forum, a security forum organized by an official military think tank to promote China’s views on security, Hu gave a rare glimpse into China’s calculations on Afghanistan.

He anticipated that the US would want to strengthen military cooperation with India after withdrawing from Afghanistan, which could make India more “adventurous” and more risk-taking in dealing with China.

China and India have been troubled neighbors for decades. Their forces clashed on a disputed section of their Himalayan border last June and remain in a stalemate.

“New skirmishes cannot be completely ruled out,” said Hu.

Hu also said there were international expectations that the Taliban would stop the spread of Islamist militancy and prevent a relapse into chaos, which would affect China and its regional “Belt and Road” development plans.

He also expressed concern that the United States might channel resources to create “disruptions” for China in areas such as the South China Sea, Taiwan and the Korean Peninsula.

“The United States has invested $ 2 trillion in Afghanistan over the past 20 years. Even if they divert just $ 50 billion … China will feel a lot of pressure.”

After withdrawing from Afghanistan, the US is in talks with countries in the region, including India, to set up bases for counter-terrorism operations.

That worries China too.

“The US says the bases are to fight Afghan terrorists, but there could be other motives related to China and Russia,” Du Nongyi, vice chairman of the China Institute for International Strategic Studies, a think tank with ties to the Chinese military, told Reuters.

“Central Asia is Russia’s backyard. We can’t let the United States gain a foothold.”

Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; Edited by Robert Birsel and William Mallard

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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