China is pledging support to the Taliban government now in charge of Afghanistan for reconstruction of the country, but is continuing to add insult to injury in the wake of the disastrous US evacuation and pullout from Kabul of the last two weeks.
"China has pledged to help reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan after American troops have completely withdrawn, but demands that Washington also pay its share," The South China Morning Post writes in a Tuesday report. China's foreign ministry went so far as to demand that Washington "reflect on its failure" after closing down its longest running war in history.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin issued scathing criticism during a press briefing Tuesday, saying the United States' starting the war in Afghanistan in the first place is ultimately "the reason for public livelihood and economic difficulty in the nation."
"The US has to take up responsibility and cannot just leave the chaos behind," Wang emphasized. "The US has to work with the international community to provide economic and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, maintain the normal operations of the government, maintain social stability, stop the currency depreciation and inflation, and let Afghanistan go on the path of peace," he said.
Alternately he touted China's reconstruction efforts as part of a new 'peaceful start' for Afghanistan: "China will support the peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan on the basis of respecting the wishes and demands of Afghanistan."
The stinging rebuke was laced with repeat comments on Washington's need to 'learn its lesson' in the failure of the Afghan war:
The US had to learn that military intervention would only lead to failure and that China supported the building up of an inclusive government in Afghanistan that cut off ties with terrorist forces, he added.
Meanwhile, China is already flexing its diplomatic muscles at the United Nations, given that on Monday the UN Security Council passed a resolution demanding the Taliban ensure safe passage for people wanting the leave Afghanistan, while at the same time allowing humanitarian groups to provide aid inside the country.
Monday's UN Security Council vote which saw China and Russia abstain...
Crucially China and Russia were the only countries that abstained, given that "the resolution failed to address terrorist organizations such as Islamic State and the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which Beijing has blamed for attacks in Xinjiang."
The clear message was that the 'hypocritical' US cares neither about counter-terrorism nor humanitarian aid and thus backed the resolution merely as a face-saving ploy on the global stage - from Beijing's perspective at least.
Diplomatic jockeying over 'humanitarian motives' and counter-terror concerns aside, as we and others have been highlighting lately, the Taliban now controls colossal untapped mineral deposits, in particular what's likely the world's largest lithium deposits. This fact alone likely explains China's suddenly becoming "friendly" to the Taliban regime over the past weeks.