Beijing Says Sino–US Cooperation on Afghanistan Conditional on Washington’s ‘Attitude Toward China’

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Aug. 29 that Washington’s “attitude toward China” would decide how the two countries would work together on Afghanistan, during a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

Wang not only set the conditions for bilateral cooperation, but also accused the United States of “fighting terrorism selectively,” according to a statement published by the Chinese foreign ministry.

While the Chinese ministry’s statement detailed Wang’s demands for the United States, State Department spokesperson Ned Price issued a brief statement on the call.

Blinken and Wang spoke about “the importance of the international community holding the Taliban accountable for the public commitments they have made regarding the safe passage and freedom to travel for Afghans and foreign nationals,” the spokesperson said.

Price’s statement didn’t offer any other details about the call.

Wang said the U.S. attitude would be measured by its actions: Stop “smearing and attacking” Beijing and stop “undermining” China’s sovereignty. He also said the United States “should take seriously” China’s “two lists” and “three bottom lines.” Doing what China said would bring bilateral ties “back on track” to meet Beijing’s wishes.

It’s unclear what smearing and attacks to which Wang was referring. In July, the Chinese regime also accused Western journalists of “smearing China” after they published reports critical of Chinese policies on local floods. The accusation, promoted through China’s state-run media, resulted in Chinese citizens harassing and threatening Western reporters covering the disaster on the ground.

Chinese state-controlled media have been publishing their own negative reports about the United States, such as labeling the United States as an unreliable partner, given its chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Beijing handed the lists and three demands to U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman when she traveled to China in late July to meet with Wang and his deputy, Xie Feng. One of the lists asked the United States to correct its “wrongdoings,” including revoking U.S. sanctions on Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials.

By Frank Fang

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