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Delegation of Top Afghan Taliban leaders hosted by China – Report

China hosts Delegation of Top Afghan Officials as a part of its initiative to promote peace in Pakistan with some personal interests

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The Soldiers Fighting for Peace; Source: Pixabay
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Beijing, March 8, 2017:  In an attempt to persuade the militant group to attach themselves with the peace process in devastated Afghanistan, China hosted a group of top Afghan Taliban Leaders recently; as per a media report published in PTI.

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Sher Abbas Stanikazai, the Afghan Taliban’s Qatar office chief led the delegation of 5 members including- Shahabuddin Dilawar, Jan Muhammad Madani, Salam Hanafi and Saleh, reported the newspaper Express Tribune, quoting sources in Taliban.

The visit has further been confirmed by the people aware of Taliban Qatar office activities. “The visit was part of the relations of the political office with European countries such as Norway, Germany, France, Britain as well as neighbouring and regional countries,” a Taliban source reported to the paper.

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The source, not wanting to be mentioned by name also said that the focus of the relations are to resolve issues through negotiations and bring about peace in Afghanistan.

“Being a major world power, China is the main stakeholder and wants to play its vital role for peace and stability in Afghanistan. That is why it invited the Taliban,” stated another Taliban leader.

Deng Xijun, Chinese special envoy for Afghanistan, visited Kabul and also met Afghan Leaders which includes President Ashraf Ghani, only days after the Taliban trip last month.

“China has always conveyed to the Taliban during meetings that it recognises the Afghan government and the president and that talks are the only option for them,” Deng said. He told Ghani, “China has always encouraged the Taliban to join the peace process.”

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Days after the trilateral meeting in Moscow, of senior officials from Pakistan, Russia and China, the Taliban visited China.

According to regional experts, the failure of the American policy along with subsequent drift in the US-Afghan Policy, vacuum has emerged in the country and region, causing China to actively promote peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman of Pakistan Senate’s Committee on Defence listed some of China’s intentions and interests behind its Afghan peace initiative.

“Firstly, to stop Afghanistan from being a springboard for any possible spillover into China of the lingering instability due to the Afghan civil war, particularly on the sensitive Xinjiang province of China that shares a border with Afghanistan,” Sayed said.

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“Secondly, to coordinate Afghan policy with Pakistan, given the Beijing-Islamabad strategic partnership, so that Afghanistan is not a venue or battleground for a new round of proxy war or a new Cold War detrimental to both the allies’ interests,” he said.

“Thirdly, to provide for a more conducive regional environment and to ensure peace, security and stability via a peace process involving the Kabul regime and the Taliban,” he added.

By Nikita Saraf; Twitter: @niki_saraf

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China And Russia Accused of Manipulating Their Currencies By Trump

Donald Trump to accuse China and Russia as their currency manipulators

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Donald Trump is the President of U.S.
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U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday it is unacceptable that Russia and China are devaluating their currencies, days after the Treasury Department declined to label these countries as currency manipulators in its latest report.

Amid a possible new round of sanctions against Russia and a simmering trade war with China, Trump tweeted Monday morning, “Russia and China are playing the Currency Devaluation game as the U.S. keeps raising interest rates. Not acceptable!

In general, when a country artificially devaluates its currency, its exports become cheaper and more competitive in the global marketplace.

The currencies of U.S, China and Russia.
FILE – The U.S. dollar, Indonesian rupiah and Chinese renminbi currencies are displayed in the poster of a money exchange shop in Jakarta, June 12, 2013. VOA

During his presidential campaign, Trump has repeatedly accused China of lowering the value of its currency and vowed to formally label China as a currency manipulator, but so far has failed to do so.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says the administration is closely watching China’s currency practices. “That’s something that the Treasury Department is watching very closely and we’re continuing to monitor it,” she said Monday.

In a semiannual report titled “Macroeconomic and Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners of the United States” released last Friday, the Treasury Department did not designate China as a currency manipulator, but put it as one of the six countries on a monitoring list. The other five countries on the list are Japan, Korea, India, Germany, and Switzerland. Russia is not on the monitoring list. The Chinese currency, the renminbi, has appreciated over 3 percent against the dollar since the beginning of this year, after strengthening by over 6 percent in 2017.

Also Read: Trump: US ‘Being Stolen’ by Illegal Migrants

Brad Setser,a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former Treasury Department official said in an interview with VOA he does not think it is an accurate complaint that Russia and China are playing the currency game.

“The Russian ruble was actually quite stable before the sanctions on Russia were intensified. It’s quite clear the volatility in the ruble is a function of the intensification of U.S. sanctions, a sign that the sanctions are biting,” he explained.

Setser said over the past several months, the Chinese yuan has actually appreciated, and China has not been intervening heavily.

“There are plenty of things to criticize China for on trade, but right now, there’s no real basis for criticizing China on currency,” he noted.

Russia's Central Bank Chief.
Russia’s Central bank chief Elvira Nabiullina presents the new 2,000 and 200 ruble banknotes in Moscow on Oct. 12, 2017. VOA

In the past three years, the Federal Reserve raised interest rate six times to a range between 1.5 percent and 1.75 percent, and said they expect to raise the rate two or three more times this year.

Usually, when a country raises its interest rates, the value of its currency rises, making its exports more expensive and less competitive. However, higher U.S. interest rates have not raised the value of the dollar.

“The interesting puzzle that the market has been pondering for the past several months is that the dollar has actually weakened even as the U.S. has raised rates, and even as U.S. passed legislation to expand the fiscal deficit,” Setser said.

Also Read: This Way China Can Help India In The Terms of Artificial Intelligence

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Economic Analysis at the Treasury Department Setser stressed the United States should not label China as a currency manipulator at this moment.

“It would undermine the United States’ credibility to name China at a point in time when there is no plausible case that China is managing its exchange rate in a way that is adverse to the U.S. interest,” he said.  VOA