On August 19, 2021, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a phone conversation with British First Secretary of State and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab at request. Both sides exchanged views on the situation in Afghanistan and China-Britain relations.
Wang Yi said, the major change to the situation in Afghanistan reflects that after more than 40 years of war, the Afghan people yearn for stability and do not want another war or chaos. It also shows that the governance model imposed from the outside has not been supported by the Afghan people, and lacks social foundation. Relying on military intervention to solve regional hotspot issues will lead nowhere. The situation in Afghanistan is yet another negative example, and if the United States does not learn from the painful lessons, it will suffer new ones.
Wang Yi noted that as the Afghan issue has entered a critical stage from military settlement to political settlement, the following aspects should be focused on. First, whether the Taliban can unite the Afghan people, establish an open and inclusive political structure in line with the country's conditions, pursue moderate policies, and avoid triggering new conflicts or even a civil war. Second, whether Afghanistan can draw a clear line from terrorism, resolutely crack down on all kinds of terrorist organizations and avoid becoming a gathering place for terrorists again. Third, whether the international community could play a constructive role. The international community should fully respect the independence and sovereignty of Afghanistan and the will of its people, conduct more dialogue and provide more guidance, refrain from a predetermined mindset and exceeding one's duties to meddle in others' affairs, and not turn Afghanistan into an arena of geopolitical games.
Wang Yi stressed that the following situation in Afghanistan is still unstable and uncertain, and the international community should encourage and guide it in a positive direction, instead of exerting excessive pressure. This is conducive to the early political transition by the Taliban and other political forces in the country, the stabilization of domestic situation in Afghanistan, and the reduction of the impact of refugees and immigrants. China is willing to continue to play a constructive role in the Afghan issue without interfering its internal affairs.
Wang Yi said that there are some positive signs recently at the low ebb of the China-Britain ties and China agrees with a remark made by you that it should be cooperation, rather than divergence, to define the bilateral relations. The premise of cooperation between countries is mutual respect, especially in each other's path of development and core concerns. In the meantime, the mutually beneficial cooperation should be carried out openly and inclusively so as to gradually enhance the stability and foreseeability of the bilateral ties. Solidarity remains the top priority of all countries in the fight against COVID-19 and origins tracing is a scientific issue that should not be kidnapped by politics. It is also unacceptable to ignore or even overturn the conclusions and suggestions of the joint China-WHO study report because of political needs. China is willing to continuously enhance communication with the British side in fields related to vaccine, treatment and origins tracing so as to jointly contribute to the safety of human health.
Wang Yi said that a "pan-political" trend is witnessed frequently in the international community recently as some even attempt to "politicize" sports and hype up "boycotting" the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, adding it is a serious violation of the Olympic Charter and athletes' rights. Adding "together" to the Olympic motto reflects a correct direction for the Olympic cause. China welcomes British athletes to have better performances in the Beijing Winter Olympics. China, together with other countries of the world, is willing to host a simple, safe and wonderful Winter Olympics.
Raab congratulated Chinese athletes on their impressive results achieved at the Tokyo Olympics, agreeing that sports should not be politicized. He said that the British Olympic Committee will make an independent decision on the participation of British athletes in the Beijing Winter Olympics. Similarly, the British side also believes that the international anti-pandemic cooperation should not be politicized. Britain is ready to develop positive bilateral relations with China, and deepen mutually-beneficial cooperation in the fields of economy, finance, and health.
Raab agreed that the international community should sum up experience and lessons of the Afghan issue, saying that the country should not become an epicenter of terrorism once again. The international community should cooperate on the issue of Afghan refugees. Britain has announced that it will take in 20,000 Afghan refugees and is ready to increase humanitarian and development assistance to Afghanistan in support of the United Nations in helping the neighboring countries of Afghanistan to accept Afghan refugees. Britain and China can strengthen coordination on the Afghan issue.