Source: Global Times Published: 2017-12-27
Foreign Minister Wang Yi is flanked by Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani (left) and Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif in Beijing on Tuesday for the first China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers` Dialogue. [Wang Zhuangfei/China Daily]
China and Pakistan are ready to discuss with Afghanistan extending the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said.
Wang also said at a joint news conference after he chaired the first China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers` Dialogue in Beijing on Tuesday morning that the corridor does not target any third party.
The gathering worked on repairing Afghanistan-Pakistan ties, boosting the war on terrorism and gearing up Afghanistan`s rebuilding process.
As a key neighbor to both China and Pakistan, Afghanistan has a strong desire to improve its economy and public livelihood and become part of regional interconnectivity, Wang said.
Concrete programs and approaches for cooperation regarding the CPEC will be decided through consultation among the three parties on an equal footing, he said, and one of the first options could be improving livelihoods at border areas.
The CPEC is an economic cooperative project and should not be politicalized, Wang said. It has nothing to do with existing disputes in the region, including territorial ones, he added.
Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani said he appreciated China for launching the "unique" trilateral dialogue that aims to promote peace, security, stability and prosperity among the three countries.
The three ministers had "an in-depth exchange of views on win-win development cooperation, with a special focus on infrastructure development, to strengthen connectivity among the three countries, including under the Belt and Road Initiative", Rabbani said.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said the successful implementation of CPEC projects "will serve as a model for enhancing connectivity and cooperation through similar projects with neighboring countries, including Afghanistan, Iran and with central and west Asia".
Lin Minwang, a professor of South Asian studies at Fudan University, said that an increasing number of countries such as Iran and multilateral organizations have displayed an interest in participating in the CPEC.
The CPEC has made remarkable progress in the past few years, and extending it to Afghanistan is a first step for the corridor to become a blueprint with a wider influence, Lin said.
Another highlight of Tuesday`s trilateral dialogue is the consensus reached by Pakistan and Afghanistan on repairing their ties.
Afghanistan agreed to fully echo an action plan proposed by Pakistan to boost their solidarity, which aims to introduce five liaison working groups to cover areas such as politics, military, information, economy and refugee, Wang told reporters.
The three countries also agreed to boost their counterterrorism coordination and cooperation to crack down on any terrorists and terror organs.
Rabbani said Afghanistan will continue with China the "resolute fight" against the terrorist and separatist East Turkestan Islamic Movement organization and their support groups and networks.
Lin Minwang is a visiting fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China.