Presidents Xi and Putin pledge co-operation in phone call

China’s President Xi Jinping has talked on the phone to Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. The two leaders reportedly “had an in-depth exchange of views on the situation in Afghanistan”.

According to state media, Mr Xi “emphasised that China respects Afghanistan’s “sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity,” and said that China is “pursuing a policy of non-interference in Afghan internal affairs”.

However, he noted that “the two sides agreed that the current international and regional situation is complex and evolving,” and added that both countries will “maintain communication”.

The state-backed Global Times newspaper had earlier indicated that China’s attitude towards the Taliban could change if events in Afghanistan have a “negative impact on Xinjiang”, the Chinese region that borders the country.

China’s embassy in Afghanistan remains open, but has called on Chinese based there to make themselves known in the event that the situation changes. Today the foreign ministry has emphasised that “China maintains smooth communication with the Taliban”.

What was notably absent from media coverage of the conversation between Mr Xi and Mr Putin was any mention of the West’s role in Afghanistan. However, Mr Xi stressed the importance of political dialogue from all parties.

In recent days, media in China have emphasised that the US cannot simply walk away from Afghanistan.

Outlets have highlighted the recent comments of foreign ministry personnel, who have criticised the “hasty” US retreat from Afghanistan, saying that they have said this has left “turbulence and chaos”.

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