China becomes the first to accept credentials of Afghanistan’s Taliban ambassador

China becomes the first to accept credentials of Afghanistan’s Taliban ambassador
The Voice of America (VOA) reported on January 30 that some analysts and former diplomats say Chinese President Xi Jinping’s acceptance this week of ambassador credentials from the representative of Afghanistan amounts to the first official recognition of the interim Taliban government by a major nation.
Xi reportedly welcomed Wawlawi Asadullah Bilal Karimi, the Taliban-appointed Afghan ambassador, in a formal ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, along with envoys from Cuba, Iran, Pakistan and 38 other countries, who also presented their credentials.
Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry, reportedly evaded a direct question at a briefing Wednesday as to whether China now recognizes the Taliban administration in Kabul.
But, he said, “China believes that Afghanistan should not be excluded from the international community,” adding that it was normal diplomatic protocol for China to receive and accredit an ambassador from the interim Afghan government.
“China has understood what the rest of the world has not,” Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban's chief spokesperson, reportedly said Tuesday at an event on the social media platform X.
“We are not in a unipolar world,” Mujahid said, calling on Russia, Iran and other countries to take similar steps and upgrade diplomatic relations with Kabul.
Xi told the new ambassadors that China is seeking deep friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation with their countries, Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported.
Turkiye’s Anadolu Agency (AA) reports that the new Afghan ambassador to Beijing was posted to Beijing by the interim Taliban administration on November 24 last year.
Hong Lei, Director-General of Protocols at China's Foreign Ministry, reportedly received Karimi's credentials on December 1 before presenting his letter of credence to Xi on January 30.
The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in August 2021, but no UN member states have recognized the interim administration.
TOLO News reports that the Chinese ambassador to Afghanistan Zhao Xing presented his credentials to the Islamic Emirate's PM Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund in Kabul in September 2023.
Following the Chinese president's acceptance of the Taliban ambassador's credentials, Matthew Miller, a spokesperson for the US State Department, stated that Beijing's stance on recognizing the Taliban remains unclear.
“I’ve seen those reports, and I think I would let the Chinese Government speak to what this means in terms of their relationship and whether they have formally recognized the Taliban or not,” he said.
He emphasized once again that the current relations between China and the Taliban will not change the US policy towards the recognition of the Taliban and that the group should take specific steps, including improving the rights of women, to gain recognition.

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