China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi listens during a meeting in Manila, Philippines January 16, 2021. Francis Malasig/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
The world should guide and support Afghanistan as it transitions to a new government instead of putting more pressure on it, China's State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday in a call with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
The situation in Afghanistan, where the Taliban has retaken power 20 years after it was forced out by a U.S.-led invasion, remains unstable and uncertain, Wang was quoted as saying by China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"The international community should encourage and guide it in a positive direction instead of exerting more pressure," which will be conducive to stabilising the situation, he added, according to the ministry's statement on the call.
China has not officially recognised the Taliban as the new rulers but Wang last month hosted Mullah Baradar, chief of its political office, in Tianjin and said the Taliban were expected to play an important role in Afghanistan's peace and reconstruction process.
In the call with Raab, Wang also said the international community should not use Afghanistan as a geopolitical battleground but should respect its independence and the will of its people, the foreign ministry statement said.
China consistently objects to foreign criticism of its own system and generally rejects international pressure on other countries as interference.
Wang added there had been "positive signs" in Sino-British relations after a recent low point,concurring with a previous statement by Raab that relations should be defined by cooperation, not disagreement.
Ties with Britain soured when China last year introduced a national security law in the former British territory of Hong Kong and have also been strained by allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, which Beijing denies, as well as by tensions over the coronavirus pandemic.
China is willing to strengthen communication with Britain on vaccines, treatment and tracing the origins of the virus, Wang said.
Reporting by Beijing Newsroom Writing by Tom Daly Editing by Mark Heinrich and Frances Kerry
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