|Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson on the reported relations between China and Taliban|
|(15 September 2001)|
Q: The US "Washington Post" and "Wall Street Journal" reported that China has very close relations with the Taliban. China regularly sends diplomats to Kabul. China has also advised the Taliban on building dams. At least one Chinese company is helping the Taliban build a telephone network. China recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Taliban on providing economic and technical assistance to the Taliban. Could you please confirm the report?
A: The relevant US reports are far from the facts.
After the outbreak of the civil war in Afghanistan, China closed its Embassy in Afghanistan as early as February 1993, out of safety considerations. Till now, there are not any resident personnel there. It is baseless to claim that China has regularly sent diplomats to Kabul. The reports that China has provided advice on building dams and built telephone networks for the Taliban and that China has signed a MOU with the Taliban on economic and technical assistance are also groundless.
As its neighbour, China has always closely followed the development of the situation in Afghanistan. We hope to see an early and peaceful settlement of the Afghan question. China does not seek selfish interests on the Afghan question. We urge the relevant parties in Afghanistan to go in for peace, but we never interfere in Afghanistan's internal affairs. China has not established any form of formal relations with the Taliban. The Embassy of the Islamic State of Afghanistan (Anti-Taliban Alliance) in China has been working normally in Beijing. China supports the leading role of the United Nations in a peaceful settlement of the Afghan question. We also support all efforts contributing to the peaceful settlement of the Afghan question.