China not building military base in Afghanistan: defense, foreign ministries

Global Times
Yao Jianing

China is actively taking part in the peace process in Afghanistan and fully supports potential political reconciliation over military action, Chinese analysts stressed on Thursday after China's foreign and defense ministries denied reports of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) base being built in the region.

A report published in the South China Morning Post on Tuesday said China had started building a training camp in the Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan and would send a PLA unit there.

The report was "inconsistent with facts," defense ministry spokesman Wu Qian said at a briefing on Thursday.

The report was also denied by foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying at a daily briefing on Wednesday, without elaboration.

China will likely provide counter-terrorism training to Afghan counter-terrorism forces and police, but only within the Chinese border, Li Wei, a counter-terrorism expert at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday.

"China will not build a military base in Afghanistan," he said.

Yin Gang, a research fellow at the Beijing-based Institute of West Asian and African Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday that "China always supports talks that promote the peace process in Afghanistan, while the Chinese government and scholars have long understood that the problems in Afghanistan cannot be solved by military actions."

China, Iran and Pakistan, which border Afghanistan, will take part in Afghan peace talks scheduled for September 4, the Washington Post reported.

Afghanistan's Taliban confirmed on Wednesday that they would join the peace talks in Russia, the New York Times reported.

The multilateral peace talks with the Taliban were postponed after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said they must be led by Afghanistan, Reuters reported on Monday.

If Afghanistan becomes peaceful, the country's rebuilding will require social and economic development in tandem with the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative, Li said.

"As a neighboring country, Afghanistan's situation in terms of peace and stability is closely related to China, especially its northwest region," he said.

China insists that problems in Afghanistan must be solved by the Afghan people, Li said.

"Political reconciliation is the only future Afghanistan will see, but it will not go smoothly. It will prove a long and difficult process," Li said.


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