By Reena Bhardwaj
Washington [US], August 3 (ANI): US State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Monday (local time) has said that People’s Republic of China (PRC) interest in Afghanistan could be “an alignment of interest” when it comes to what the United States and China seek in Afghanistan.
“There’s an alignment of interest in at least some areas when it comes to what we seek, what China seeks and what the broader international community seeks in Afghanistan,” Spokesperson Price told ANI on being asked what is US’ assessment of meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Taliban delegation led by its chief negotiator Abdul Ghani Baradar.
The meeting between the Chinese and nine officials from the Taliban group coincided at a time when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was on his official visit to India. The Chinese invited the Taliban leaders in the coastal city of Tianjin and the optics of that coincidence showed Wang welcoming Baradar, the Taliban’s co-founder and head of its political commission, with open arms, then sitting down for talks with the Taliban delegation.
The display was a sharp contrast to the reception that the Chinese Foreign Minister had offered in Tianjin two days earlier to Wendy R. Sherman, the American deputy secretary of state. The visit was a part of what her office described as ongoing US efforts to hold candid exchanges with Chinese officials to “advance US interests and values and to responsibly manage the relationship.”
US State Department spokesperson Price referred to this meeting and said that the US-China relationship in one word is ‘complex’ and in three terms it is ‘oriented around competition.'”She (Sherman) had an opportunity to explore all three of those areas in a conversation that was candid and expansive, one of those areas where there is at least the potential for some level of cooperation was Afghanistan,” Price stated in the briefing.
Experts say although the US might once have fiercely resisted Chinese attempts to increase their influence inside Afghanistan, now Washington’s priority appears to keep away a civil war. Spokesperson Price also affirmed that is in no one’s interest to see Afghanistan descend into all-out civil war. “It is in everyone’s interest to see a solution to the conflict that is just as durable as Afghan-led, and Afghan Owned” he concluded. (ANI)