BEIJING: Pakistan and China agreed that the solution to the Afghan conflict “has to be fundamentally political”, Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said on Friday.
Asif, who arrived in China at the start of his regional outreach for consultations on the new US policy on Afghanistan and South Asia, addressed a joint press conference after his meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing.
The Pakistani foreign minister appreciated China’s “constructive role” in the process for a politically negotiated settlement of the Afghan conflict, saying that Pakistan and China can together contribute to a political solution to the conflict.
Answering a question, Asif said he will meet the Afghan foreign minister on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, the first high-level contact between the two countries after the announcement of Trump’s Afghan and South Asia policy.
“We will pursue a policy of engagement with Kabul in bringing peace to the region,” he said.
Wang Yi said the international community should recognise Pakistan’s efforts to eliminate terrorism.
“When it comes to the issue of counterterrorism, Pakistan has done its best with a clear conscience. In comparison, some countries need to give Pakistan the full credit that it deserves.”
Stressing the need to intensity trilateral cooperation between Afghanistan, Pakistan and China, Wang said his country stands ready to support the improvement of relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“We reaffirmed that only the advancement of the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process is the viable way out to address the Afghan issue.” He said peace in Afghanistan is in the best interest of Pakistan, China and the entire region.
Wang, who is hosting Asif on his first trip abroad as foreign minister, said China, Pakistan and Afghanistan will hold new high-level talks this year to push forward settlement negotiations even while the US deploys thousands of more troops.