Photo: Reuters/Thomas Peter

Chinese Foreign Minister to visit Pakistan with Afghanistan high on his agenda

Chinese Foreign Minister, Qin Gang, will visit Pakistan on Friday to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. He will meet with Pakistani Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, and Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, as well as with the Taliban’s Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Mutaqi.

Amir Khan Mutaqi who is under the UN Security Council sanctions which bars him from international travel has been granted permission by the council to travel to Pakistan.

According to the South China Morning Post, the Chinese chief diplomat has Afghanistan high on his agenda during his stay in in Islamabad.

“The international community needs to step up contact and dialogue with the Afghan interim government, support its reconstruction and development efforts, and encourage it to build an inclusive government, exercise moderate governance, develop friendly relations with its neighbours and firmly fight terrorism,” the spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

Although no country has recognised the Taliban, China has kept a growing diplomatic and economic relationship with the group, with Chinese companies expressing interests in investing in Afghanistan.

In mid April, a Chinese company offered $10 billion to the Taliban for access to Afghanistan’s large lithium deposits, which according to some estimates is worth $1 trillion. And in January, the group and another Chinese company signed a $540 million deal to extract oil from northern Afghanistan’s Amu Darya basin.