China looks towards Pakistan for achieving peace in Afghanistan: FM Wang Yi

China has put its weight behind “improving” relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan amid US drawdown from the war-torn country after 20 years of fighting the Taliban.

“China emphasized its readiness to continue to play a constructive role in facilitating the improvement of relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” said a joint statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry after the Fourth China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue, which was held virtually on Thursday.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and his Pakistani and Afghan counterparts Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Haneef Atmar attended the meet hosted by Beijing. Last such meeting was held in Islamabad in 2019.

Pakistan and Afghanistan share a border, as well as historical and cultural ties but the relationship has not been cordial in recent times. Both accuse each other of providing safe havens to terrorists who launch attacks across the border.

Pakistan is regarded as a key player in the Afghan peace process as the US and other foreign troops are set to leave Afghanistan by Sept. 11. It also hosts nearly three million Afghan refugees who have fled violence in their country.

Last November, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan paid his maiden visit to Afghanistan and the two sides reaffirmed to “look towards a future relationship built on trust.”

China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan have now “reaffirmed” their commitments to strengthening political mutual trust, enhancing exchanges and communication, and forging closer-good neighborly relations and partnerships.

The three nations said they will jointly “fight terrorism in all its forms.”

“It is important to reject ‘double standards’ in counter-terrorism, not let any terrorist organization or individual use their respective territories for activities against other countries, and redouble joint efforts against the ETIM, TTP and Daesh and any other terrorist group,” the statement said.

China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan reaffirmed that they will “deepen cooperation” under the Belt and Road Initiative, Regional Economic Cooperation Conference, ‘Heart of Asia’ Istanbul Process and other regional economic initiatives.