This content was published on December 25, 2018
BEIJING (Reuters) – Senior Chinese and Pakistani diplomats discussed on Tuesday “new changes” to the situation in Afghanistan, China’s foreign ministry said, amid plans by the United States to withdraw about half of the 14,000 U.S. troops based in the country.
U.S. officials have told Reuters that President Donald Trump has issued verbal orders to plan for a drawdown of close to 7,000 U.S. troops.
White House and the Pentagon have not yet commented publicly.
China, a close ally of Pakistan, has been deepening its economic and political ties with Kabul and is using its influence to try to bring the two uneasy neighbours closer.
Meeting in Beijing, the Chinese government’s top diplomat State Councillor Wang Yi and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had a “deep discussion about new changes to the situation in Afghanistan and reached a broad consensus”, China’s Foreign Ministry said.
“Both sides believe that military means cannot resolve the Afghanistan issue, and promoting political reconciliation is the only realistic way,” the ministry said in its short statement.
“The two sides welcome the various efforts made by all parties and are willing to maintain close communication and strategic coordination.”
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)