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Defending Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan, China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi made a phone call to United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and reminded him to “respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and security concerns.”

Jiechi reiterated that his government was committed to bringing peace to Afghanistan, but also called on the Trump administration to recognise the role of Pakistan in the process.

According to a chinese foreign ministry statement, Jiechi told Tillerson, “We should attach importance to the important role that Pakistan plays in the Afghanistan issue, respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and legitimate security concerns.”

The call assumes much significance as U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled his new strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia in which Pakistan has been highly criticised ,a key Chinese ally for providing safe havens to terrorist organisations.

Jiechi said Beijing was committed to “advancing the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan” and that political dialogue was “the only way to solve the Afghanistan problem”.

Trump alleged that Pakistan was playing a double game by accepting American aid while giving safe haven to militants who kill Afghan and Nato troops. Islamabad strongly denied the allegations.

China praised Islamabad for making “great sacrifices and contributions to fighting terrorism”.

State Councillor Yang said China stand ready to keep communication open with the U.S on Afghanistan and to help the nation’s peace and reconciliation process, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

“We need to give attention to the important role Pakistan plays in the Afghanistan issue and respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and security concerns,” Xinhua quoted Yang as saying.

US State Department spokesman Heather Nauert said in a press briefing that Tillerson provided an overview of Trump’s South Asia policy in the phone call and focused on Afghanistan and Pakistan policy.



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