After Zhao Xing’s appointment, the Taliban received him at the presidential palace in Kabul on Wednesday under lavish protocol.
The Chinese foreign ministry says Beijing will further expand dialogue and cooperation with Afghanistan. It said that its policy towards the country is ‘clear and consistent”. He further added that Mr. Zhao’s appointment is part of a “normal rotation” of Chinese ambassadors to Afghanistan.
The Taliban has not been officially recognized by any foreign government. However, China is among the first countries to engage with them since foreign forces withdrew from the country in 2021.
Beijing is significantly interested in the country, which sits in the middle of a region vital to China’s belt and Road infrastructure initiative. And some have said that this ambassadorial approach is a long shot by China aimed at shoring up its influence in the region.
“By being the first to name an ambassador post-takeover, China aims to position itself as an influential actor in the region. This is a possible diplomatic flexing of muscles, especially when many western countries are still hesitant to engage with the Taliban,” said Farwa American, Director of South Asia Initiatives at the Asia Society Policy Institute.
She added saying that maintaining diplomatic ties with the Taliban may keep China’s security concerns in check. The Taliban government has received criticism over human rights violations in Afghanistan.
In particular, the suppression of women’s rights under their rule, which is thought to be the harshest globally.
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