As the United States withdraws from Afghanistan, China will almost certainly be drawn to it for economic and strategic reasons. Estimated to contain untapped mineral wealth worth around US$1 trillion, Afghanistan could provide alternatives to the Kazakhstan-Russia overland route of the Belt-Road Initiative and to the existing route through Pakistan to the Iranian oil and gas fields. In both cases, China would need to be able to fully secure those new routes at a time when the security situation in Afghanistan is looking increasingly precarious and while also ensuring that any unrest in Afghanistan does not spill over into Xinjiang province.
As the US withdraws from Afghanistan, China will almost certainly be drawn to it.
China needs to ensure that any unrest in Afghanistan does not spill over into Xinjiang.
It must also ensure that it can placate and calm any hostility caused by its treatment of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.
China would like to have, additionally, an alternative to the current Kazakhstan-Russia overland route for its Belt-Road Initiative and to be able to secure that new route.
It would also like to have an alternative route to its existing one through Pakistan to access Iran’s oil and gas fields.