China offered on Thursday to mediate in stalled efforts to engage the Afghan Taliban in peace negotiations, reflecting its desire to play a more active role in a region it sees as part of its sphere of influence. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the announcement as he arrived in the Pakistani capital on a two-day visit aimed at cementing traditionally
warm ties between communist China and conservative Islamic Pakistan. Afghanistan and its Western backers have been trying to bring moderate Taliban figures to the negotiating table to end years of war in the country. Pakistan is key to the process because of its historic ties to the Taliban leaders, who have used the Pakistani border region as a safe haven. “We will support the Afghan government in realising reconciliation with various political factions including the Taliban,” Wang told reporters.