Asia - Pacific

Women's rights very important, but not root cause of Afghan issue: China’s top diplomat

Qin Gang calls on int’l community to view Afghan issue in 'a comprehensive, balanced and objective manner’

Riyaz ul Khaliq  | 14.04.2023 - Update : 14.04.2023
Women's rights very important, but not root cause of Afghan issue: China’s top diplomat


Acknowledging that the issue of women's rights and interests in Afghanistan was “very important,” China has, however, said this was “not the whole of the Afghan issue.”

China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang said: “The issue of women's rights and interests is very important, but it is not the whole of the Afghan issue, nor is it the core or root cause of the Afghan issue.”

“Only with a stable society, manageable safety and security and a growing economy, can women's rights and interests be fundamentally safeguarded,” he added.

The foreign minister was speaking to reporters after the second informal meeting on Afghanistan among top diplomats of China, Russia, Pakistan and Iran in the historic Samarkand city of Uzbekistan on Thursday, according to China's Foreign Ministry.

Beijing’s comments came after the UN said it was being forced to make an “appalling choice” about its presence in Afghanistan as the de facto administration led by the Taliban banned women from working for the organization.

The Taliban have said the ban on women working in Afghanistan was an “internal issue of the country.”

Lauding the UN agencies for playing an “important role in coordinating countries' positions on Afghanistan and promoting international support for Afghanistan, Qin said: “Afghanistan's friendly neighbors, including China, are concerned about Afghanistan’s recent policies and measures, and are worried about the possible impact of these measures on the basic rights and interests of Afghan women, the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and international cooperation.”

Qin Gang said the Afghan neighbors hope that the Taliban “will heed the concerns of the international community and resolve related issues through friendly consultations with various parties.”

However, the top Chinese diplomat said: “We cannot turn a blind eye to this issue, and neither can we take care of one thing and lose sight of the other, or evade serious matters.”

“The international community should view the Afghan issue in a comprehensive, balanced and objective manner. Two-thirds of the Afghan population is living in hunger, and the Afghan people are still living in the shadow of terrorist threats and external interference,” he said, urging a “comprehensive and systematic solution.”

‘Afghanistan’s reconstruction’

Help from the international community to develop its economy and improve people's livelihood, Qin said, will “effectively protect the basic rights and interests of all the Afghan people, including women, children and ethnic minorities.”

Earlier, addressing the fourth meeting of the foreign ministers of the neighboring countries of Afghanistan, Qin said: “All parties should speak with one voice on supporting Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development and promoting regional security and stability.”

“The long-standing Afghan issue stems from both old diseases that have not been cured and new illnesses, and neighboring countries of Afghanistan should play a leading role in helping Afghanistan overcome difficulties and challenges,” Qin said.

Foreign ministers of Uzbekistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan attended the meeting.

The top Chinese diplomat put forward a four-point proposal on Afghanistan – “crackdown on the terrorist forces in Afghanistan; urging the US to fulfill its responsibilities; calling on the Afghan Taliban to promote inclusive governance; and carrying out practical cooperation related to Afghanistan.”

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