China Offers Seat Of Respect To Taliban Over Mineral Trade
China–While Taliban continues to grapple through international trade and diplomacy, China has already set its eye of Afghan’s rich mineral bounty. Beijing’s latest edition of meetings comes with quite a flavour of geopolitics on its mind.
It went to Pakistan to ensure things are in control, while a sudden trip to India was to ensure the wrong message doesn’t go to its powerful Asian counterpart. Chinese counterpart was in Afghanistan to meet the Taliban appointed Amir Khan Muttaqi. Like the one that has happened for India, this one also took many by surprise, as Taliban has still not earned a seat at the international trade table anywhere.
It is likely that Yi has also invited Muttaqi to attend the third meeting of foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighbours in Tunxi, Anhui. It was to be held between March 30 and 31. This is actually to be seen as an extended meeting of the China-US-Russia consultation mechanism on the Afghan issue on the sidelines of the third Foreign Ministers’ Meeting among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the meeting between Yi and Muttaqi held last Thursday cited the usual official smokescreen that talks were held on political, educational, economic and transit issues concerning China and Afghanistan.
But China is more interested in the mineral gains from Afghanistan and will be broaching the idea of investments into the extraction and infrastructure to Taliban. This works in Beijing’s favor as Taliban has been desperately looking for acceptance and recognition as the legitimate successors and governance for Afghanistan. Five Chinese companies obtained special visas and arrived in Afghanistan in November 2021 already, to conduct on-site inspections of potential lithium projects.
Afghanistan possesses a vast number of intact mines and natural resources, including lithium reserves, as well as other valuable resources. China is eyeing nearly USD 1 trillion worth of untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover of the war-torn country. China’s mining company Metallurgical Corp of China (MCC) will open an office in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul by the end of March, local media reported citing officials.