• By The Financial District

China Treads On Thin Ice In Seeking To Cut Deals With Taliban

In the US departure from Afghanistan, China has seen the realization of long-held hopes for a reduction of the influence of a geopolitical rival in what it considers its backyard, Ken Moritsugu reported for Associated Press (AP).

Photo Insert: The China Metallurgical Group Corp. (MCC) headquarters in Sanyuanqiao

Yet, it is also deeply concerned that the very withdrawal could bring risk and instability to that backyard — Central Asia — and possibly even spill over their narrow, remote border into China itself and the heavily Muslim northwestern region of Xinjiang.

The Taliban’s takeover could certainly present political and economic opportunities for China, including developing Afghanistan’s vast mineral riches, and Beijing has said it is ready to help rebuild the impoverished nation.

But stability will be required to reap most of those benefits, and the immediate result of the American withdrawal has been more instability, not less.

China has chased commercial ventures in Afghanistan, but the prospects of such projects reaching fruition appear no closer now than they were over the past 20 years of the US presence.

All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

A consortium led by China Metallurgical Group Corp. bid $3 billion to develop what is one of the world’s largest copper deposits at Mes Aynak, promising also to build a power plant, railway, and other infrastructure. Years later, work has yet to start, largely because of insurgent activity in the surrounding Logar province.

China’s state-owned National Petroleum Corp. suspended oil drilling in the Amu Darya basin because of a delay in the signing of a transit agreement with Uzbekistan to allow crude oil to be trucked to China.

Market & economy: Market economist in suit and tie reading reports and analysing charts in the office located in the financial district.

The Afghan government later voided the drilling agreement. China has invested heavily in Pakistan, which borders Afghanistan, in hopes of extending its Belt and Road Initiative to broaden China’s overseas reach by improving trade routes, but Afghanistan appears far from ready to serve as a link in that chain.


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