From Mahnoor Makhdoom
BEIJING: The foreign ministers of China-Afghanistan-Pakistan reaffirmed their resolve to harness Afghanistan’s potential as a hub for regional connectivity and their commitment to trilateral cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and jointly expand China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday.
The three foreign ministers agreed in this regard during the 5th China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ dialogue held in Islamabad, he said during his regular briefing.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari chaired the dialogue while State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang and Acting Foreign Minister of the Afghan Interim Government, Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi attended the dialogue.
This is the first foreign ministers dialogue among the three countries since the profound change in Afghanistan in 2021 and it marked the resumption of the mechanism.
Wang Wenbin said that the three ministers had candid in-depth exchange of views on good neighborliness, mutual trust, security cooperation, counterterrorism, connectivity, trade and investment and reached common understandings.
A joint statement was issued at the end of the dialogue.
He said that the three parties resolved to further deepen and expand cooperation in security, development and political domains and agreed to coordinate and cooperate on security, organized crime, drug smuggling etc.
The foreign ministers stressed on the need of not allowing any individual group or party including the TTP and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) to use their territories to harm or threaten national security and interests or conduct terrorist actions.
All three sides underscored the need to refrain from interference and to promote Afghan peace, stability and reconstruction.
They reaffirmed their resolve to harness Afghanistan’s potential as a hub for regional connectivity and their commitment to trilateral cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and jointly expand China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan.
The three countries will push forward connectivity, infrastructure in norms and standards, explore facilitating measures for the movement of people and trade and a greater strength and cooperation in agriculture, trade, energy, capacity building, etc.
The three ministers called upon the international community to engage constructively with Afghanistan. “They urged relevant countries to lift unilateral
sanctions and return overseas assets for the benefit of Afghan people and create opportunities for prosperity in Afghanistan,” he added.
He said that as State Councilor and Foreign Minister, Qin Gang noted, China through China-Afghanistan-Pakistan trilateral channel is ready to strengthen policy coordination, enhance strategic mutual trust and step-up counterterrorism and security cooperation.
China is also willing to strengthen development cooperation and three countries jointly could set an example of cooperation among neighbors on hotspot issues and promote regional stability and prosperity, he added.