Address by Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi at The International Conference in Support of Afghanistan
Foreign Minister Rangin Spanta,
Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner,
I wish to offer warm congratulations on the opening of the International Conference in Support of Afghanistan and express thanks to the governments of France and Afghanistan and the United Nations for their efforts to make this conference possible.
To the people of Afghanistan, the past seven years are of historic significance. From Bonn to Berlin, we saw the rebirth of the Afghan nation from the flames of war. From London to today's Paris, we see the rebuilding of their homeland.
Today, Afghanistan is once again standing at a new starting point, facing both difficulties and hopes, both challenges and opportunities. We welcome the National Development Strategy formulated by Afghanistan and hope that its implementation will give new impetus to the delivery of the Afghanistan Compact and bring a bright future to the Afghan people.
We need a safe and secure Afghanistan. China calls upon all ethnic groups and political factions in Afghanistan to remain committed to the long-term interests of the country and the people, continue to nurture and act on a "reconciliation culture", and uphold and strengthen the authority of the Afghan central government. China supports the accelerated development of the Afghan military and police forces and continued progress in the security sector reform. Since 2002, we have provided Afghanistan with military assistance in the form of logistic supplies and personnel training. The agreement on free training to Afghan military personnel between 2006 and 2010 is being implemented.
We need an Afghanistan that enjoys development. Only when the Afghan people see and share the fruits of development can there be a solid foundation and driving forces for the reconstruction process to keep moving forward. In its National Development Strategy, Afghanistan has made poverty reduction and attainment of the Millennium Development Goals its overall objectives. We highly appreciate this wise decision. Since 2002, China has pledged 170 million US dollars of assistance to Afghanistan. This year, we will offer another 50 million RMB yuan of assistance to Afghanistan.
We need an Afghanistan that keeps drugs at bay. China is deeply concerned about the rising opium production in Afghanistan, which has posed a major threat to Afghanistan's national security and regional stability. We support Afghanistan in implementing the National Drug Control Strategy that aims to halve the acreage of poppy by 2013. We will continue to enhance our cooperation with Afghanistan on law enforcement and intelligence sharing and take an active part in the international efforts to set up an anti-drug security belt alongside the borders of Afghanistan.
We need a sustainable Afghanistan. People with professional skills hold the key to national development, and therefore capacity building should be given priority in Afghanistan's reconstruction process. The National Development Strategy underscores the importance of improved governance, rule of law and the capacity to deliver public services. We support these priority areas. Capacity building and personnel training have always been the focus in China's assistance to Afghanistan. We will continue to consult with Afghanistan and train Afghan professionals in the fields of commerce, agriculture, customs, drug control and security.
It is the shared aspiration of all countries to see Afghanistan achieve success in reconstruction and embark on the path of steady development, and we have all been working toward this goal. For a long time to come, the international community should continue to take an interest and make inputs in Afghanistan, and intensify coordination and cooperation in this regard. This serves not only the interests of the Afghan people but also world peace and security, and this is where the responsibility of the United Nations lies. China highly appreciates the UN peace-building efforts in Afghanistan and will continue to support it.
China welcomes and supports the issuing of the Joint Declaration at this conference. I want to reiterate here that China will always stand with Afghanistan in its course of national reconstruction and development.