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Neighbors Need to Reach out to Each Other and Work Together for Development

- The Second Meeting of China-Afghanistan Liaison Mechanism at the Working Level for Economic Reconstruction is Held Successfully

2022-06-29 18:55

On June 28, 2022, Director-General of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Foreign Ministry Liu Jinsong and Director General of the Third Political Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Afghan Interim Government Zakir Jalaly co-chaired the second meeting of the China-Afghanistan liaison mechanism at the working level for economic construction via video link.

Liu Jinsong said, President Xi Jinping recently chaired and delivered important remarks at the High-level Dialogue on Global Development. President Xi Jinping stressed that over the years, developing countries have worked unremittingly to explore development paths suited to their national realities and to pursue economic and social development. Such efforts have produced remarkable outcomes. At present, the COVID-19 pandemic is eroding decades of gains in global development, the implementation of the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is encountering difficulties, the North-South gap keeps widening, and crises are emerging in food and energy security. Some countries have politicized and marginalized the development issue, built "a small yard with high fences", imposed maximum sanctions, and stoked division and confrontation. At the same time, people in all countries are more keen on pursuing peace, development and cooperation, and emerging markets and developing countries are more resolved to seek strength through unity. Protectionist moves will boomerang; anyone attempting to form exclusive blocs will end up isolating himself; maximum sanctions serve nobody's interest. We must get a good grasp of the overarching development trend in the world, firm up confidence, and act in unison and with great motivation to promote global development. These important observations are also of great significance for the economic reconstruction of Afghanistan. The Chinese side hopes that the Afghan side will actively participate in the Belt and Road Initiative, Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping, and synergize such initiatives with Afghanistan's national development plan, so as to inject inexhaustible impetus into the country's economic reconstruction.

Liu Jinsong stressed that China and its neighbors, including Afghanistan, are in a community with a shared future. "A close neighbor can be more helpful than a distant relative." Since the changes in the Afghan situation last year, China has provided a large amount of humanitarian and development assistance in a timely manner to help Afghanistan tide over difficulties and realize economic reconstruction. With China's active efforts, Afghanistan's distinctive agricultural products such as pine nuts, saffron, dried apricots, figs and raisins have been exported to China successfully. In the first five months of this year, Afghanistan exported 200 tons of pine nuts to China, generating 2.8 million U.S. dollars for the Afghan people. So far, 81 Afghan pine nut enterprises have been registered in China. Going forward, China is ready to work with Afghanistan to earnestly implement the consensus reached at the high-level meetings between the two countries and the outcomes of the third Foreign Ministers' Meeting among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan, speed up the return of the Afghan students to China for their studies, the resumption of direct flights and the visa application of Afghan businessmen to China and other issues of concern to Afghanistan, and support cooperation between sister provinces and regions at the sub-national level. The Chinese side hopes that the Afghan side will take concrete measures to crack down on terrorist forces, including the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, and protect the safety of Chinese personnel, institutions and projects in Afghanistan. The Chinese side also hopes that the Afghan side will keep to good neighborliness and constantly improve its relations with neighboring countries, so as to create favorable conditions for Afghanistan to carry out or participate in major connectivity projects in the region.

Liu Jinsong pointed out that there are two sayings in Afghanistan. One is that "you cannot wake up someone who is only pretending to be asleep." The U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan has brought huge disasters to the Afghan people and its irresponsible withdrawal has created more problems for Afghanistan. The United States has not seriously reflected on and apologized for this, but has been constantly scapegoating and shifting blame to others. The United States froze Afghanistan's national assets, including foreign exchange reserves, and imposed unilateral sanctions, making the current plight worse for the Afghan people. The other is that "the one that suits you well will serve you well." Facts have proved that the political and economic model transplanted by the United States does not work in Afghanistan. The Afghan people should seize the historic opportunity of running their own country, actively explore a development model suited to their national conditions and the trend of the times, and embark on the path of sustainable development at an early date with self-reliance as the mainstay and foreign assistance as the supplement.

China's National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Natural Resources and General Administration of Customs introduced the working progress in supporting Afghanistan's economic reconstruction from their respective areas of competence and suggested holding a meeting of the China-Afghanistan Joint Economic and Trade Committee as soon as possible to discuss the signing of bilateral investment protection and trade facilitation agreement. In doing so, it will provide technical support for Afghanistan's agricultural development and expand the export of high-quality Afghan agricultural products to China.

Zakir Jalaly said, the United States' 20-year presence in Afghanistan has seriously restricted the development of Afghanistan, and left a mess behind after its hasty withdrawal. The Afghan interim government is making every effort to improve its governance measures in various fields, actively respond to people's needs, improve the security situation, and enhance self-reliance capability. China is Afghanistan's most important neighbor and largest trading partner. China is also a major country that is sincere in helping Afghanistan. Afghanistan has always benefited from its cooperation with China. Afghanistan appreciates the practical measures taken by China to support the country's economic reconstruction. The Afghan side is willing to actively participate in the Belt and Road cooperation and give play to its geographical advantages and development potential. The Afghan side attaches importance to and understands China's concerns in the field of security and counter-terrorism, and will never allow any force to use Afghan territory to infringe on China's interests, and will practically protect the safety of Chinese personnel, institutions and projects in Afghanistan. Afghanistan's Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and Ministry of Economy introduced their aspirations for cooperation in relevant fields respectively, and look forward to deepening practical cooperation with China in agriculture, economy and trade, energy, mining, health, finance, culture and people-to-people exchanges, capacity building and other fields.

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