【China Daily】Chinese diplomat plays key role in aiding Afghanistan
Source: China Daily 14-Dec-2021
Chinese special envoy for Afghan affairs Yue Xiaoyong has wrapped up 112 days of shuttle visits to foreign countries, a hectic diplomatic schedule that highlights Beijing's active role in helping Afghanistan cope with critical changes.
From late July to November, despite the pandemic and security risks, Yue flew between Asia and Europe multiple times in efforts to bring peace and stability to the war-torn country. His travels took him to 15 countries where he engaged in frequent diplomatic exchanges with representatives from nearly 30 countries and international organizations.
China has made the most intensive diplomatic efforts of all countries involved in the Afghan issue, after the Taliban seized power in the central Asian nation and the United States completed the withdrawal of 2,500 troops in August, Yue said.
The veteran diplomat, with experience in US and Middle East issues, assumed the post in July, when he attended a meeting between State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and a visiting Taliban delegation in Tianjin.
After he assumed the post, he made a total of 40 flights, including 11 visits to Qatar, five to Pakistan, four to Russia and three to Iran, to participate in bilateral and multilateral talks.
Yue said the key to the political settlement of the Afghan issue lies in rational and pragmatic contact, strengthened humanitarian assistance and constructive guidance based on mutual respect.
Sustainable peace, stability and reconstruction also have to be pursued in Afghanistan, he said.
When the country has undergone turbulence and change in the past, China has focused on the Afghan people and conducted equal and friendly exchanges with all parties, Yue said, which have laid a solid foundation for Beijing to deal with the current situation in the country.
During his trips the special envoy has met with Taliban officials many times. In October, State Councilor Wang Yi also met with representatives of the Taliban in Qatar for a second time.
While maintaining frequent contact with Afghanistan, China is also working with the country's neighbors to address related issues, remains open to dialogue with Western nations and voices its position at international platforms, Yue said.
A coordination and cooperation mechanism among Afghanistan's neighbors has been established, and foreign ministers of neighboring countries have held two meetings, with a third meeting due to be hosted by China next year.
Yue said major changes happening in Afghanistan and efforts made by many countries are not geopolitical issues or wrestling matches among major countries. Instead, they are related to the survival and dignity of the human and humanitarian spirit. They are also related to whether Afghanistan, as a sovereign country, can end chaos and resume stability, seize opportunities for national reconstruction and participate in the process of building a community with a shared future for mankind, he said.
Military action should not be an option when political settlements are available, Yue said. Washington should reflect on its mistakes, unfreeze Afghanistan's assets, lift unilateral sanctions and shoulder primary responsibility in order to prevent a humanitarian crisis in the country, he said. Countries and international organizations should strengthen their coordination to help Afghanistan prevent refugee and humanitarian disasters and achieve economic reconstruction, Yue added.
China has donated 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and 1.6 million syringes to Afghanistan, and is stepping up efforts to deliver 200 million yuan ($31 million) in emergency humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan.
Beijing will provide another 30 million yuan worth of food assistance, according to the Foreign Ministry.