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China, France share common interests for Afghan stability

People walk past the Shah-Do Shamshira Mosque in Kabul on Aug 18 following the Taliban's rapid takeover of Afghanistan. (HOSHANG HASHIMI / AFP)

In its latest talk with Paris, Beijing raised the alarm over a potential massive outpouring of refugees and migrants from Afghanistan. It also called for joint efforts from countries to calm down the situation there, and said there are lessons to be learned from the turmoil.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged this during a phone call on Wednesday with Emmanuel Bonne, diplomatic counselor to French President Emmanuel Macron.

Wang emphasized that effective measures are needed to help achieve a smooth transition in Afghanistan, so as to avoid a huge rush of refugees and migrants out of the country.

Otherwise, bitter results will be brought to the war-torn country's neighbors and European countries.

Wang criticized the US military's hasty withdrawal, saying that the United States cannot shirk its responsibility.

He said the top priority is to provide Afghanistan with much-needed economic and humanitarian assistance to make up for the great damage to Afghanistan's national development and people's well-being.

Bonne said France and China have common interests in maintaining peace and stability in Afghanistan.

He also said his country is willing to strengthen coordination with China under the United Nations Security Council framework in order to realize peace and stability in Afghanistan soon.

Cui Hongjian, director of the European studies department at the China Institute of International Studies, said:"The 20-year war in Afghanistan has been creating a constant source of refugees for Europe."

The chaotic troop withdrawal of the US and its indifference to the situation in Afghanistan will lead to more serious consequences, adding to the risk that the refugee problem will have another major impact on Europe, he said.

Going through the pains triggered by regional instability, including the "Arab Spring" and the US war in Syria, Europe has gone to great lengths to assist existing refugees while trying to avoid another large-scale influx, Cui noted.

"However, the current turmoil has fueled panic among Afghan people, and Washington made an easy choice by shifting the refugee problem to Europe and asking countries in need of the US' favors in other issues to accept incoming refugees," he said.

Unilateral sanctions

Wang also called on Washington to quit imposing unilateral sanctions.

Actions to freeze Afghanistan's foreign exchange reserves in the US and arbitrarily exerting pressure on Afghanistan are "very unwise and will unlikely pay off", he said.

During the phone call, Wang also said that there are lessons to be learned from the situation in Afghanistan, and the first thing is not to seek hegemony.

No matter how powerful a country is, Wang said, it should "respect other countries and honor fairness and justice".

Wang also warned about one-sided obsessions in imposing a "transformation toward democracy" on another country, saying that it is necessary to respect the development path chosen by a country that is suitable for its own national conditions.

zhangyunbi@chinadaily.com.cn