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China to begin Xiangshan Security Forum

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China to begin Xiangshan Security Forum

FT Montage AP
Image: FT Montage/AP

China will virtually host the Xiangshan Security Forum today.

Launched in 2006, the Xiangshan Security Forum brings together military leaders, politicians and international organization representatives to hold discussions on hotspot security issues. The forum aims to foster partnership in the Indo-Pacific, however Afghanistan is expected to be a main topic in today’s discussion.

Beijing has a long relationship with Afghanistan, with Chinese leadership consistently engaging Afghan ruling regimes at a diplomatic level. Since the US completed its military withdrawal in August, China has continued to provide humanitarian aid in an effort to stabilize the new Taliban government.

Chinese officials will use this forum to call for closer ties with the Taliban by increasing stabilization efforts in the form of aid and cooperation. With the US no longer present in Afghanistan, China seeks to be one of the first superpowers to legitimize the Taliban government. After receiving aggressive resistance in the South China Sea, this new vacuum in Central Asia provides China with an enticing opportunity to expand its influence Westward.

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The Taliban also need Beijing, but internal Taliban politics may complicate their relations. Namely, the group’s hardline Islamist Haqqani faction remains skeptical of relations with Beijing, considering their persecution of Uighur Muslims.

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