Pakistan FM ends four-nation tour

December 27, 2018

TEHRAN - Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi completed his four-nation tour with a whirlwind visit to China on Tuesday, which has emerged as the strongest regional ally of Pakistan.

According to reports, the U.S. decision to pull nearly half of its troops from Afghanistan figured prominently in talks between Qureshi and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

As China looks to expand its role as a peace broker in South Asia and play more active role in conflict-torn Afghanistan amidst the drawdown of U.S. forces, the meeting assumed significance.

“The two sides agreed that a military means cannot solve the Afghan issue, and that promoting a political solution focused on reconciliation is the only realistic and feasible way," Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a press briefing.

Earlier this month, officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan and China met in Kabul to discuss trade, development and regional security issues. It was the second high-profile meeting between the three neighbors.

Beijing has also hosted Taliban leaders in an effort to bring the warring sides in Afghanistan to the negotiating table.

China has not made its official stance on the U.S. troop pullout from Afghanistan clear but experts say Beijing is willing to fill in the vacuum left by U.S. Pakistan on Saturday welcomed the decision to cut U.S. troop numbers calling it "a step towards peace" in its war-torn neighbor.