China not a competitor in Pakistan, Afghanistan, says US

Published August 8, 2015
We welcome China’s engagement in Afghanistan and Pakistan, says diplomat.—Courtesy: US State department
We welcome China’s engagement in Afghanistan and Pakistan, says diplomat.—Courtesy: US State department

WASHINGTON: The United States does not see China as a competitor in Afghanistan and Pakistan and wants to work with Beijing for restoring peace and stability in the Pak-Afghan region, says a senior US diplomat.

“We welcome China’s engagement in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which we see not as competitive but complementary to our own efforts,” said Dan Feldman, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“In 2009, on my first official trip to engage the Chinese, my colleagues in Beijing refused to even have the words ‘Afghanistan’ or ‘Pakistan’ on our agenda. Today we have embarked on a series of collaborative development projects in Afghanistan and convened a trilateral US-China-Afghanistan discussion, both firsts of their kind with the Chinese,” he added.

In a separate statement issued on Friday, the State Department announced that earlier this week, the United States and China held a counter-terrorism dialogue in Beijing.

At the meeting, the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to address the shared threat that terrorism posed to both countries and the international community.

They “reiterated their opposition to terrorism in all forms and … sought to identify practical ways to strengthen cooperation on counter-terrorism including on how to address the transnational flow of foreign terrorist fighters,” the statement said.

They also addressed terrorist funding networks, and increase information exchange on terrorist threats, the State Department said.

They would soon hold another meeting to discuss curbing the illicit flow of chemical precursors and dual-use bomb components used by terrorists worldwide in improvised explosive devices.

Meanwhile, at his presentation at the US Institute of Peace, Mr Feldman noted that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was working in a ‘deliberate and strategic manner’ to improve his country’s relations with Pakistan.

“President Ghani deserves great credit for courageously opening the opportunity for rapprochement with Pakistan,” he said. “We similarly appreciate Pakistan’s efforts to further an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned reconciliation process.”

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2015

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