Response on Agenda Item: Security Issues and Counter-Narcotics
Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing of China
Prime Minister Tony Blair,
First of all, I wish to extend my warm congratulations on the successful opening of the London Conference on Afghanistan.
This Conference follows up on the Bonn Process and inaugurates the Afghanistan Compact, and is therefore of great significance to the Afghan reconstruction.
The Afghan reconstruction is the mission of the Afghan Government and people, and it is also the responsibility of the international community and the United Nations. Its success is the success for all of us.
This morning, we witnessed the signing of the Afghanistan Compact which launched a new phase in the Afghan reconstruction. This is a major achievement of this Conference. The Compact affirms the progress made in reconstruction since the beginning of the Bonn Process and lays out a blueprint for reconstruction in the next five years. It contains both applicable measures and a realistic timeline.
China is a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council and the largest neighboring country of Afghanistan. We have fully noted and agreed with the priority areas of development identified in the Afghanistan Compact and the Interim Afghan National Development Strategy. We are ready to offer long-term assistance to and conduct long-term cooperation with Afghanistan to promote mutual benefit and common development.
Firstly, China will continue to assist in the Afghan reconstruction. In 2006, China will offer a grant of RMB 80 million to Afghanistan. We will continue to honor our previous commitment of providing USD 150 million to Afghanistan. As an important step to promote trade between China and Afghanistan, we will grant zero tariff to majority of Afghan exports to China.
Secondly, China supports and is ready to enhance cooperation with the Afghan Government in combating terrorism. The two countries have exchanged police liaison officers to strengthen information and intelligence sharing. Police and military cooperation between the two countries is well under way. Focusing on human resources development, China has trained several groups of Afghan military officers and law-enforcement police personnel. We will enhance such training by increasing the number of trainees, expanding the scope and courses of training to improve its effectiveness.
Thirdly, China is ready to participate in the international cooperation aimed at eliminating narcotics in Afghanistan. China has taken an active part in related cooperation mechanisms and we have cracked numerous drug-trafficking cases. We will work with other neighbors of Afghanistan in implementing the Kabul Declaration on Narcotics Control. We support the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in creating a security belt around Afghanistan and will carry out concrete counter-narcotics cooperation with Afghanistan such as growing alternative crops.
Fourthly, the Chinese Government encourages Chinese companies to participate in the Afghan reconstruction. As a matter of fact, they have completed several large construction projects in Afghanistan such as upgrading and expanding telecommunication networks in Kabul and eight other cities and CDMA projects in Kabul and three other cities. The Chinese enterprises are building four roads in Afghanistan. The Chinese Government will provide concessional loans to encourage reputable Chinese enterprises to provide project contract services in Afghanistan and make investment in infrastructure, power, mining, transportation and other sectors.
As an old Chinese saying goes, "With perseverance, one can complete the longest journey and the most difficult mission." Let us join hands to work for a better future both for Afghanistan and for the entire international community.