Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

Why Should China Deepen its Cooperation with Afghanistan?

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Why Should China Deepen its Cooperation with Afghanistan?

On December 26th, 2017, Wang Yi, Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China, Rabbani, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Asif, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan held the first trilateral foreign ministers’ dialogue in Beijing, China. During the dialogue, the three foreign ministers agreed to make concerted efforts to promote tripartite cooperation under the three themes of “political mutual trust and reconciliation”, “development cooperation and connectivity” and “security cooperation and counter-terrorism”. China and Pakistan were ready to work with Afghanistan to adhere to the principle of mutual benefit and win-win results, so as to actively explore the extension of the Sino-Pakistan economic corridor to Afghanistan in an appropriate manner. On January 8th, 2018, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani received the letter of credence from China’s new ambassador to Afghanistan at the presidential palace, claiming Afghanistan would treat China as a permanent and reliable strategic partner and was willing to actively participate in the construction of The Belt and Road”. All in all, as the relations between China and Afghanistan continue to improve, the areas of cooperation between both countries have further expanded. What factors have made the cooperation between China and Afghanistan more and more extensive? Here are several humble opinions from the author below:
First and foremost, both countries have the common vision of development. As the international environment changes, China and Afghanistan have encountered common development issues in the international environment. Both countries share the same circumstances in security and development. The two countries can complement each other’s interests with existing conditions, and develop security cooperation and political mutual trust to ease their own problems. Under the continuous threat of terrorism, Afghanistan has undergone slow economic construction. Compared to other nations, China has lower level of influence upon Afghanistan, acting as a low-key active participant though. China has always hoped to promote Afghanistan’s peace and development through bilateral and multilateral cooperation with Afghanistan, as well as to create a favorable international environment for China. Obviously, the cooperation between China and Afghanistan has had a real common development vision.
Secondly, both countries share the same economic and cultural needs of development. Afghanistan is a major country along the “belt” and “road” as mentioned in the the Belt and Road Initiative, and deepening Sino-Afghanistan cooperation will set a good example for the smooth progress of bilateral relations between China and other countries along the “belt” and “road”. Therefore, China attaches great importance to the cooperation with Afghanistan. The friendly cooperation between the two countries will bring a happy and harmonious life to people in both countries. The protruding strip of land in the northeastern Afghanistan is bordered with Xinjiang in China. Xinjiang of China and Afghanistan share certain similarities in habits, customs and geographical environment. Therefore, huge potential for bilateral economic and trade cooperation could be expected along the border. Meanwhile, driven by The Belt and Road Initiative in recent years, education cooperation between the two countries has ushered in a new period of development as relations between China and Argentina gets increasingly closer. The number of Chinese and Afghan students studying abroad has been expanding year by year, and education cooperation has been intensified continuously, which has trained a large number of high-quality talents for both countries and promoted bilateral exchanges to a new level
Last but not least, the two countries have the common concerns about security environment. China and Afghanistan share common security interests. Afghanistan and China are vital neighbors of each other, and their security problems have a great impact on each other. China regards the security and development issue of Afghanistan, and has always believed that only when Afghanistan enjoys a peaceful and stable development environment, security in the country would prevail. And the same applies at the international level as well.  China has a long-term development prospect. China hopes that Afghanistan will take an active part in cooperation with China and actively solve the problems affecting their bilateral cooperation.
Ultimately, the relationship between China and Afghanistan has been improving and the areas of cooperation have been expanding. As the Chinese proverb goes, “many hands make light work”.  China and Afghanistan are not rivals but partners. In the face of various difficulties, China and Afghanistan can eliminate the issues of common concern through friendly consultation. On the basis of political mutual trust, both countries should strengthen the friendly relations between each other by broadening cooperation in the fields of economy, culture and security, and thus jointly seek the future of peace and prosperity for the two countries.

Wenxian Zha & Youhong Lin, Scholars, Yunnan University; Aijiao Liu, Associate Professor Yunnan Police College

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