Wang Yi Speaks with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the Phone at Request
On August 16, 2021, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a phone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at request. Both sides mainly exchanged views on the situation in Afghanistan and China-U.S. relations.
Blinken expressed appreciation for China’s participation in the Doha meeting on the Afghan issue, noting that the current situation in Afghanistan is entering a crucial stage. The Taliban should announce a clean break with extremism, opt for an orderly transfer of power and establish an inclusive government. Blinken hopes that China will also play an important role to this end. The United States recognizes that the future of Afghanistan should be decided by the Afghan people, calling on the Taliban to ensure the safety of all those who wish to leave the country.
Wang Yi elaborated on China’s position on the situation in Afghanistan, 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.
Wang Yi said that 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. China encourages Afghanistan to establish an open and inclusive political framework in accordance with its own national situations.
Wang Yi said the United States should play a constructive role in helping Afghanistan maintain stability, prevent chaos and rebuild peacefully. 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.
Wang Yi stressed that it is dangerous and wrong that the last U.S. administration announced to remove the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement from its list of terrorist organizations and apply double standards on the issue of counter-terrorism. The U.S. side should change course and remove obstacles to the Afghan-related cooperation between China and the United States and international counter-terrorism cooperation.
Wang Yi further expressed that both China and the United States are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and important participants in the contemporary international system. In the face of various global challenges and urgent regional hotspot issues, the two countries should carry out coordination and cooperation, which is what the international community is looking forward to. However, the United States cannot, on the one hand, work hard to contain and suppress China and undermine China’s legitimate rights and interests. On the other hand, it counts on China’s support and cooperation. Such logic has never existed in international exchanges. China and the United States differ in ideology, social system, history and culture. This is an objective fact, and no one can change the other. The right thing to do is to work together on the basis of mutual respect to find a way for the two major countries to coexist peacefully on this planet. History will surely prove that no matter what the United States wants, China-U.S. relations should ultimately pursue such a future and there is only such a path that can be taken. The United States should follow a rational and pragmatic policy towards China, respect China’s core interests and major concerns, strengthen dialogue, manage differences and bring China-U.S. relations back on track at an early date in accordance with the spirit of the conversation between the two heads of state.
Blinken said that it is very important for the United States and China to maintain communication on major international and regional issues. I agree that it is a common goal for the United States and China to realize peaceful coexistence, hoping that both sides will seek and carry out cooperation. Of course there are also obvious differences between the two sides, Blinken said, adding that those can be gradually resolved in a constructive way in the days to come. The U.S. side reiterates its opposition to all forms of terrorism and does not seek unrest in China’s western border areas. The evolution of the situation in Afghanistan once again shows that it is very important for the United States and China to cooperate on regional security issues in a constructive and pragmatic manner.