China says ready for “friendly relations” with Taliban

China says it is willing to develop “friendly relations” with the Taliban after the armed group seize control of Afghanistan.

“China respects the right of the Afghan people to independently determine their own destiny and is willing to continue to develop … friendly and cooperative relations with Afghanistan,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying tells reporters.

“The Taliban have repeatedly expressed their hope to develop good relations with China, and that they look forward to China’s participation in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan,” he said.

China shares a rugged 76-kilometre (47-mile) border with Afghanistan.

Hua called on the Taliban to “ensure a smooth transition” of power and keep its promises to negotiate the establishment of an “open and inclusive Islamic government” and ensure the safety of Afghans and foreign citizens.

A top-level Taliban delegation met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Tianjin last month, promising that Afghanistan would not be used as a base for militants, reported AFP.

In exchange, China offered economic support and investment for Afghanistan’s reconstruction.