China on Monday welcomed the landmark US-Taliban deal and called for "orderly and responsible" withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan to avoid a security vacuum and prevent the terrorist groups from getting stronger in the war-torn country. After 18 years of war, the US and the Taliban signed the peace deal in Doha on Saturday to facilitate intra-Afghan dialogue in Oslo this month and the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan in 14 months.
"China welcomes the signing of the deal between the US and the Afghan Taliban. We think it is important to the political settlement of the Afghan issue," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Monday replying to a question over the US-Taliban deal.
"We hope taking this as an opportunity, the seed of peace can grow and prosper in Afghanistan. Foreign troops in Afghanistan should withdraw in an orderly and responsible manner to ensure a smooth transition and avoid a security vacuum especially to prevent the terrorist groups from growing stronger in Afghanistan," he said.
In the meantime, the international community should continue to support and participate in the peaceful reconstruction process in Afghanistan, he said.
"We call on the Taliban and all parties in Afghanistan to seize the opportunity and start inter-Afghan talks as soon as possible to discuss political and security arrangements acceptable to all and make joint efforts for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan," he said.
He said that China will continue to work with the international community to support and help the Afghan peace and reconciliation process.
China, which also shares border with Afghanistan through the narrow Wakhan corridor besides Pakistan occupied Kashmir, is closely monitoring the evolving situation in Afghanistan amid its own concerns over the situation in Muslim-majority Xinjiang, where it is battling the separatist East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM).
Beijing claims that the ETIM has links with al-Qaeda and it was believed to be regrouping in Afghanistan to carry out attacks in Xinjiang.
China is also trying to work out reconciliation between Pakistan and Afghanistan over the Afghan government's allegation of Islamabad's support to the Taliban through tripartite talks.
Responding to a question, Zhao said China attended the ceremony in Doha along with other foreign countries.
"China firmly supports the Afghan-led, Afghan-owned broad and inclusive peace and reconciliation process. We support the Afghan government, the Afghan Taliban and all parties in Afghanistan in starting and advancing intra-afghan talks as soon as possible,” he said.
"On the basis of respecting the will of all parties in Afghanistan, China will like to continue to be a supporter, mediator and convenience provider for the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan and will continue to play a constructive role," he said.