Zhang Wen: “China, America, and Afghanistan”
ChinaGeeks translates a post from former journalist Zhang Wen about President Obama’s announcement of a troop surge in Afghanistan and Chinese media reports headlined, ““China responds to Obama’s troop increase: Willing to Cooperate with America in Afghanistan”:
Actually, China and the US have been cooperating on the Afghanistan problem since several years ago, mostly on the intelligence-gathering front. And there really is some common interest: the base of the US’s enemies and the Taliban are in Afghanistan; Afghanistan is also a connecting point for those who influence and cause trouble in Xinjiang province.
China’s Shanghai Cooperative Group took the lead in creating a special international meeting on the Afghanistan problem in Moscow in March of this year. The Shanghai Cooperative Group’s member countries published “Announcement of the Shanghai Cooperative Group Member Countries and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Pertaining to Fighting Terrorism, Narcotics Smuggling, and Organized Crime” and “Plan of Action of the Shanghai Cooperative Group Member Countries and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Pertaining to Fighting Terrorism, Narcotics Smuggling, and Organized Crime.”
In October, Obama came to China and spoke with Hu Jintao about the Afghanistan problem, and soon after in the “Sino-US Joint Statement” expressed that “both sides welcome anything that contributes to peace, stability, and development in Southern Asia, and support Afghanistan and Pakistan in the fight against terrorism, the struggle for internal stability, and the work towards sustainable economic development, and [China and the US also] support India and Pakistan improving and developing their relations.”
From this we can see that cooperation between the US and China in Afghanistan is becoming more common. But China has never before expressed interest in sending troops to Afghanistan. Recently, though, China’s attitude towards sending troops abroad has become more ambiguous.