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China Monitoring Afghan Developments - 2001-11-15


China's government says it is watching developments in neighboring Afghanistan closely and will carefully consider any plan that leads to a widely based government there and peace with the troubled nation's neighbors. Officials are vague about China's view of future Taleban participation in Afghan politics, and Chinese participation in peacekeeping operations.

Zhang Qiyue, speaking for China's Foreign Ministry, says Afghanistan's future should be in the hands of all of Afghanistan's people, including the different ethnic groups.

Ms. Zhang says Beijing will seriously consider "all sorts of measures that will contribute to national reconciliation in Afghanistan."

She called on the international community to guide and encourage political talks among the various Afghan parties in pursuit of national reconciliation.

But she would not answer questions about whether China would support the idea of the Taleban participating in a future government.

Later questions about possible Chinese participation in peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan also drew vague answers, not ruling the idea out, but not really supporting it either.

China's border with Afghanistan is a politically sensitive area that is home to a Muslim separatist movement, which Ms. Zhang says includes a group of dangerous terrorists. Chinese officials have said some members of this group were trained in Afghanistan by terrorist forces now under attack by the United States.