China Accepts First Taliban Ambassador, Opens Up Door for BRI in Afghanistan

China Accepts First Taliban Ambassador, Opens Up Door for BRI in Afghanistan

Date:

On December 1, China accepted Bilal Karimi as the first Taliban ambassador to China, marking the first country to do so as the two seek to strengthen political and economic ties.

Chinese Director-General of Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hong Lei called the meeting “an important step in the development of relations between China and Afghanistan. He said that China respects the national sovereignty of Afghanistan and the decisions of the people of Afghanistan,” according to Taliban Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi.

Balkhi added that “China wants to help Afghanistan in economic and infrastructure projects within the framework of One Road and One Belt (BRI).”

Karimi, who previously worked as the deputy spokesman of the Taliban, “assured the Chinese side that there is no threat to anyone from the territory of Afghanistan and stability and security in the region is in the interest of all” and “also praised China’s positive and non-intervention policy towards Afghanistan and called China a good neighbor of Afghanistan.”

China will play a critical role in “investment, infrastructure revival, development projects and reconstruction in Afghanistan,” Karimi added.

Since the withdrawal of international forces and the Taliban takeover in August 2021, China has sought to tap into Afghanistan’s economic potential, laying the foundation for Belt and Road Initiative expansion into the country through trade and investments, as well as exploiting the vast natural resources the country has to offer, such as oil, gas, copper, gold, lithium, and other rare earth metals, which are worth an estimated $1 trillion.

Momentum picked up in August 2022 with an array of meetings was held in Kabul between Taliban and Chinese officials to expand economic and diplomatic cooperation. The most prominent was that of China’s Special Envoy for Afghan Affairs, Yue Xiaoyong, meeting with Amir Khan Muttaqi, the acting Taliban Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The two stressed economic development, with the IEA’s Arg Palace Twitter account tweeting that Xiaoyong said “China wants good governance in Afghanistan, Chinese investors and companies will be encouraged to invest in Afghanistan. Visas are given to Afghan businessmen, Chinese flights to Afghanistan are starting and we want to increase Chinese imports to Afghanistan.”

By January 2023, the Taliban signed a 25 year deal with China’s state-owned Xinjiang Central Asia Petroleum and Gas Company to pump oil in the Amu Sea basin, marking the group’s first international contract since they took over the country.

While signing the deal, Chinese Ambassador to Kabul Wang Yu stated that “The Amu Darya oil contract is an important project between China and Afghanistan”

This was paired with increased interest by the Taliban in creating a trade route with China and connecting Afghanistan to the One Belt One Road Initiative (BRI), which Taliban deputy Minister of Economy Abdul Latif Nazari noted that “The connection of Afghanistan with the One Belt One Road initiatives or Silk Road benefits Afghan stability and development.”

Nooruddin Azizi, the Taliban Minister of Industry and Commerce, said that the establishment of a trade route in the Wakhan Corridor, which connects Afghanistan to China, would “increase the level of trade between the two countries and become a reliable route for the transit of goods,” according to TOLOnews.

China, however, may still be weary in shifting its BRI focus to Afghanistan as the country continues to face security threats from other militant groups operating in the country, such as Uyghur extremists and the Islamic State. China has the potential to tap into the Taliban to offer protection in exchange for increased investment opportunities, which comes as the IEA faces several billions of dollars frozen in international funds.

Atlas
Atlashttp://theatlasnews.co
Unbiased & Unfiltered News Reporting for 12+ years. Covering Geo-Political conflicts, wartime events, and vital Breaking News from around the world. Editor-In-Chief of Atlas News.
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