Wang Yu, Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan
The world today is caught between a pandemic of the century and momentous changes never seen in the last one hundred years. Human society is going through the most serious pandemic in the past century, and the world economy is witnessing the worst recession since the end of the World War II. Unilateralism, protectionism and acts of bullying are becoming rampant, and the deficit in governance, trust, development and peace is widening instead of narrowing. What has happened to the world and how should we respond? The whole world is reflecting on this question.
On January 25th, Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the World Economic Forum Virtual Event of the Davos Agenda via video link and delivered the special address entitled “Let the Torch of Multilateralism Light up Humanity’s Way Forward”, which reflects deeply on the four major tasks facing people of our times, precisely points out the problems of global development and incisively explains what multilateralism is about, setting out the direction, targets and steps of upholding multilateralism under the new situation, and expressing China’s determination to firmly uphold multilateralism and stand united and work together with other countries. It also answers the major questions at a new crossroads of history such as “how to see” and “what to do”, and provides China’s proposition and strength for human development, which has been highly acclaimed by all parties in the meeting. Under the theme “A Crucial Year to Rebuild Trust”, “multilateralism” became the high frequency word in the meeting, and President Xi Jinping’s proposition has been widely recognized by the international community of upholding multilateralism and building a community with a shared future for mankind.
Upholding multilateralism is also becoming the consensus and the direction of joint efforts between China and Afghanistan. Since the beginning of the Afghan issue, China has been standing for international justice, making tireless efforts with international community to push for solving the Afghan issue and realizing peace and stability in Afghanistan at an early date. Since the start of the peaceful reconstruction in Afghanistan, China has been supporting the work of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), pushing for and supporting the passage of various resolutions on the Afghan issue by UN General Assembly and Security Council, actively participating in different discussions in the Security Council and different multilateral mechanisms on the Afghan issue, as well as upholding and implementing the principle of “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned”. President Ghani especially emphasized the importance of multilateralism at the general debate of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly last year, calling on UN to play the important role in solving different problems facing Afghanistan.
Currently Afghanistan is at a critical stage of the peace and reconciliation process. How can China and Afghanistan draw wisdom from the spirit of multilateralism and push for solving the Afghan issue at an early date? I think the special address by President Xi Jinping is very enlightening and meaningful in this regard.
The first is to stay committed to openness and inclusiveness. President Xi Jinping points out that we should act on the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, uphold the common values of humanity, i.e. peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, and make the mechanisms, principles and policies of our cooperation as open and inclusive as possible. As Afghanistan’s most trustworthy neighbour, China is more willing than any other country to see its realization of peace, stability, reconstruction and development. Besides, China has long been enhancing the cooperation with Afghanistan within the framework of “One Belt, One Road” initiative, remaining Afghanistan’s third largest trading partner for many years, making full use of sub-regional cooperation mechanisms such as China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue, making the most of Afghanistan’s geographical advantages, enhancing connectivity and promoting its social & economic development as well as the improvement of Afghan people’s livelihood. Facing the epidemic of COVID-19 and at the request of the World Health Organization, China is determined to provide 10 million doses of vaccine for COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX), which is mainly for developing countries in urgent need including Afghanistan. China is promoting high-standard opening up, establishing a “dual circulation” development pattern in which domestic economic cycle plays a leading role while international economic cycle remains its extension and supplement, and is willing to continue the joint building of high-quality “One Belt, One Road” initiative with Afghanistan, promoting the stable enhancement of economy and trade between the two countries as well as further economic development and improvement of people’s livelihood in Afghanistan.
The second is to stay committed to consultation and cooperation. President Xi Jinping points out that we should reject the outdated Cold War and zero-sum game mentality, adhere to mutual respect and accommodation, enhance political trust through strategic communication, and stick to the cooperation concept based on mutual benefit. As to the Afghan peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, we call on all parties in Afghanistan to set store by the greater national interests, and reach a widely representative and inclusive political framework at an early date through internal negotiations, which allows all political parties, ethnic and religious groups to participate on an equal footing and share the state power. As Afghanistan’s sincere friend, China will, as always, remain the supporter, mediator and facilitator for its peaceful reconciliation process, while calling on the international community and countries in the region to adhere to fairness and morality and jointly support Afghanistan’s peace and reconstruction, in which different multilateral mechanisms on the Afghan issue should play a positive role.
The third is to stay committed to keeping up with the times. President Xi Jinping points out that the world is undergoing changes unseen in a century, and now is the time for major development and major transformation, and that to uphold multilateralism in the 21st century, we should promote its fine tradition, take on new perspectives and look to the future, responding to global challenges as they arise, and reforming and improving the global governance system on the basis of extensive consultation and consensus-building. Terrorism is the common enemy of mankind, and both China and Afghanistan are its victims and are in the front line of global fight against terrorism, with international terrorist groups such as “East Turkestan Islamic Movement” (ETIM) being the common threat to the two countries. China opposes terrorism in all its forms and proposes that both the symptoms and root causes of terrorism shall be addressed and international cooperation shall be strengthened for the anti-terrorism cause. Hopefully close coordination could be made by the international community to promote Afghanistan’s security capacity building and keep enhancing the capability of the Afghan Armed Forces to fight terrorism as well as its military literacy. China calls on foreign troops to withdraw in an orderly and responsible manner to prevent terrorist groups from taking any chance to create turmoils and to ensure a peaceful transition in Afghanistan. China opposes any attempt to make Afghanistan the battlefield of international competition, especially the attempt to arbitrarily launch “new Cold War” and proxy war in Afghanistan which threatens the interests of other countries. China is willing to deepen anti-terrorism cooperation with the international community including Afghanistan and jointly safeguard peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region.
“We believe that when the interests of the entire humanity are at stake, China must step forward, take action, and get the job done.” The powerful address by President Xi Jinping demonstrates China’s solemn promise to the world and willingness to take up its responsibilities as a major global power. China will, as always, firmly uphold multilateralism and work together with other countries towards win-win cooperation, providing certainty for the world undergoing changes and playing a more constructive role in Afghanistan at the critical crossroads of history.