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Afghanistan should no longer be an arena of great powers rivalry: China

AT News Report

KABUL: Chinese Ambassador in Kabul Liu Jinsong met at the Embassy with Mr. Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Ambassador Liu said that the situation in Afghanistan is at a critical stage. China has always been supporting the United Nations to play an active role on Afghan affairs, supports UNAMA to extend its mandate. On March 15th, China voted in favor of the resolution on the technical extension of the mandate of UNAMA at the United Nations Security Council. The Permanent Mission of China to the UN has made an important explanatory statement in this regard, which should be taken seriously by all parties.

Ambassador Liu pointed out that China should not take any responsibility for such a technical extension UNAMA mandate for 6 months which is not ideal. However, it is all because of the stubborn position of one UNSC member. That member rejected the Security Council consensus reached over the years on the Afghanistan issue, attempting to impose its own stereotypes and policies on others while refusing to accept constructive views of other member states, which seriously undermined the atmosphere of consultations and resulted in the divergences that can not be resolved. The representative of that member also pointed finger to the Belt and Road Initiative in its explanatory statement. It is worth mentioning that it is the same country voted in favor of previous UNSC resolutions containing the Belt and Road Initiative as well as a Community of Shared Future for Mankind over the past three years. Its representatives attended the 1st Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing two years ago. They expressed the interests of their enterprises’ participation in relevant projects. Why this country changed its policy overnight and went back on its own words? How could this country heap curses on the Belt and Road Initiative, which is obviously beneficial to Afghanistan, actively supported by all walks of life in Afghanistan, and enthusiastically participated by countries in the region? How could this country shoulder off their responsibility while rejecting other countries’ efforts to help Afghanistan’s peace reconstruction? We are very much confused by such an approach which only hurts others without necessarily benefiting itself. We hope that the major countries will cooperate in Afghanistan. We hope all parties can respect Afghanistan’s efforts to choose its own development path and promote connectivity as a sovereign country. We hope all parties will work together to support the UN and its relevant agencies and make their due contributions to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

Ambassador Liu said that Afghanistan’s active participation in the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative is not pushed by China, but for this initiative has benefited and will continue to benefit Afghanistan in six aspects, which can be summed up as six “promoting”. First, promoting trade. In just 4 months Afghanistan has exported more than 15 million US dollar pine nuts to China through 64 cargo flights after launching the program “Charted cargo flight for Afghan pine nuts exporting to China”in November 2018. Although the global trade declined last year, China-Afghanistan goods trade volume maintained the 1.1 billion US dollars, and Afghan carpets, marble and saffron are all selling very well in China. Second, promoting Chinese investment in Afghanistan. Although the security situation in Afghanistan is not good, China still invested some projects with nearly US $500 million accumulative investment in Afghanistan. Recently, a Chinese private company invested in Bamyan province to help the local people grow and sell saffron. Dozens of families benefited directly. Third, promoting education opportunities. Afghanistan is an important partner to China on the joint construction of Belt and Road Initiative. To this end, China provides more than 150 scholarships and about 1000 training opportunities to Afghan every year, which is very helpful to youth and professionals in Afghanistan. Fourth, promoting the sense of security of the Afghan people. China’s economic and trade cooperation with Afghanistan and all kinds of donation to Afghanistan have increased employment, helped Afghanistan in poverty alleviation, and are conducive to eradicating the social soil of terrorism and extremism. The security cooperation between China and Afghanistan under the Belt and Road Initiative has also protected the people and struck the evils. Fifth, promoting Afghanistan’s international visibility and cultural influence. For example, the Afghanistan’s national treasure exhibition, which has been in China for more than a year, with more than 2 million Chinese visited, has a great influence. Sixth, promoting Afghanistan’s international access and diplomatic options, which is crucial for Afghanistan and other landlocked countries.

Ambassador Liu concluded by saying that Afghanistan presently is facing a lot of big events, as well as many difficulties and uncertainties. The dawn of peace is approaching while the risks and challenges are also accumulating. Afghanistan should no longer be an arena of great powers rivalry, nor should bear conflicts and wars any more. China is ready to sincerely cooperate with the UN and its relevant agencies, and continue to make its due contribution to the peace reconciliation and reconstruction of Afghanistan while respecting the will and needs of the Afghan people.

Mr. Yamamoto appreciated Ambassador Liu for his introduction, and said that China has always been supporting the United Nations, especially the UNAMA, in playing an important role in Afghanistan. China has provided strong support and assistance for the smooth adoption of the draft of resolution for the technical extension of UNAMA mandate. Mr. Yamamoto was also satisfied with UNAMA’s communication with the Chinese Permanent Mission to the United Nations and the Chinese Embassy in Afghanistan.

The two sides also exchanged views on issues related to Afghanistan peace and reconciliation and relevant multilateral mechanisms.

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