Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

Open a New Chapter for China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Cooperation

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Open a New Chapter for China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Cooperation

The first China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers' Dialogue was held successfully in Beijing on 26th December 2017. Foreign Minister Wang Yi of the People’s Republic of China, Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan attended the dialogue. Holding this dialogue is an important consensus which achieved by the three sides during Mr. Wang Yi’s shuttle visit to Afghanistan and Pakistan in June, 2017, it is also an important measure for China to promote the building of community with a shared future for mankind, deepen relations with its neighbors in accordance with the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit, and inclusiveness and the policy of forging friendship and partnership with its neighbors, push forward the Belt and Road international cooperation. As Mr. Wang pointed out that, The healthy and steady development of Afghan-Pakistan relations is not only in line with the interests of the two countries and the two countries’ people, but also beneficial to China and other regional countries. As a good friend of Afghanistan and Pakistan, China, within its capacity, is willing to play a constructive role in improving Afghanistan-Pakistan ties through the trilateral dialogue. It is highly expected that Afghanistan and Pakistan will make active efforts in this regard. The establishment of the China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers' Dialogue mechanism will surely promote the bilateral and trilateral friendly exchanges and cooperation.
This dialogue which achieved complete success is an important milestone for the trilateral cooperation. It enhanced the mutual trust and exchanges among the three sides, laid a solid foundation and marked a good start for the trilateral cooperation in the future. The major achievements of this dialogue can be summarized as “three ones”, one serious of important consensus, one joint Press Release and one major cooperative initiative.
One serious of important consensus includes: First, the three parties will work to deepen the trilateral cooperation in accordance with the principle of mutual respect, equal-footed consultation and win-win results under the framework of the foreign ministers' dialogue. Second, the three parties agreed to achieve four goals, namely supporting the peace reconstruction and reconciliation efforts of Afghanistan; assisting Afghanistan and Pakistan in improving their relations; promoting common security of the three countries and the region; and advancing regional connectivity and cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative. Third, Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed to expedite the improvement of the bilateral relations for harmonious coexistence. Fourth, the three parties reiterated their commitment to an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned reconciliation process. Fifth, Afghanistan and Pakistan reaffirmed their support for China's Belt and Road Initiative, and expressed their willingness to align their development strategies respectively with the Belt and Road Initiative and discuss trilateral cooperation under the Belt and Road framework. Sixth, China and Pakistan will jointly launch assistance projects for Afghanistan in areas related to people's livelihood like medical care and health, human resources and agriculture. Seventh, the three parties agreed to, in accordance with the consensus reached through the trilateral vice-ministerial consultation mechanism on counter-terrorism and security, enhance counter-terrorism coordination and cooperation in an effort to combat all terrorist organizations and individuals without any distinction of any sort. Eighth, Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed to strengthen communication between the Afghan Ulema Council and the Pakistani Ulema Council and prevent the spread and dissemination of religious extremism.
One joint Press Release, namely the Joint Press Release of the 1st China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue. In the Joint Press Release, Afghanistan and Pakistan congratulated China on the successful conclusion of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and fully supported the initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping to build community with a shared future for mankind. The three Foreign Ministers agreed to work together on political mutual trust and reconciliation, development cooperation and connectivity, security cooperation and counter-terrorism as three topics of the trilateral cooperation. They call on the Afghan Taliban to join the peace process at an early date. The three sides agreed to conduct win-win trilateral economic cooperation, with an incremental approach, starting from the easier initiatives to the more difficult ones. The three sides reiterated their firm resolve to fight the menace of terrorism. They expressed their strong determination not to allow any country, organization or individual to use their respective territories for terrorist activities against any other countries. The three sides agreed that the 2nd China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue will be held in Kabul in 2018.
One Major Cooperation Initiative is the extension of CPEC to Afghanistan. Afghanistan is an important neighbor to China and Pakistan. It keenly aspires to develop its economy, improve people's livelihood, integrate with the regional connectivity process. So China and Pakistan are willing to work with Afghanistan, on the basis of win-win, mutually beneficial principle, using an appropriate means to extend CPEC to Afghanistan. In the long run, through Afghanistan, we will gradually connect the CPEC with the China-Central and Western Asia Economic Corridor. The CPEC targets no third party. Instead, it is expected to benefit third parties and the whole region, and become a major motivation for regional integration. The CPEC is an economic cooperation project and should not be politicized. It has no relationship with existing disputes in the region, including territorial disputes, nor should it be related.
We are acutely aware that while there is a bright future ahead of us, the China-Afghanistan-Pakistan trilateral cooperation also faces certain difficulties and challenges. However, the inherent difficulty of cooperation entails extraordinary courage, and only persistent efforts befit this commendable cause. The trilateral cooperation meets with our common interests, complies with the current of regional integration, and contributes to achieving regional peace and stability. A good beginning is half done. In the coming future, the Chinese side will work together with Afghanistan and Pakistan to implement the outcomes of the trilateral foreign ministers' dialogue, and push forward trilateral cooperation up to a new stage.   

Charge d’Affairs of the Chinese Embassy in Afghanistan

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