By Wang Yu, Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan
The COVID-19 pandemic has swept across the world with unprecedented ferocity. No country can stay out of it and keep safe alone. Nothing is better than the global public health crisis to reveal the objective reality that all human beings are bound to share weal and woe. Nations are put in the same boat, suffering from and trying to managing the waves together, through life and death. The human race is experiencing great pains. Nevertheless, the current international order is increasingly under the impact of unilateralism and protectionism, allowing and fueling the pandemic to rage on. “Can we come together to face a common and dangerous enemy?” asked WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Deep thinking is needed here.
A few days ago, world leaders attended a videoconference at the 73rd World Health Assembly to discuss the promotion of global cooperation in the fight against epidemic. Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at the opening ceremony, calling on all countries to fight COVID-19 through solidarity and cooperation, and to build a global community of health for all, which was highly recognized by all parties attending the meeting. The concept of a community of shared future for mankind is a global governance solution to problems confronting all countries proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Based on a deep understanding of the laws of social development and a keen vision of the course of development for mankind, it points to the direction in a better future could be jointly created for the human society. In the current international fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese people, guided by this concept and vision, have stood together with people from all over the world and supported each other, pooling enormous force for the fight and winning wide recognition and positive response.
As it focuses on the historical development process and advocates win-win cooperation, the idea of a community of shared future for mankind is the magic weapon against the common pandemic challenge with a huge spiritual value. In today’s world, the human society is closely linked in unprecedented ways and countries are in an inextricable symbiosis. In recent years, the international community has felt more than ever before that cooperative response is the only right way to address terrorism, refugees, natural disasters and other common challenges. The concept of a community of shared future centres on mutual respect, justice and win-win cooperation and depicts an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world of lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity. Since its first proposition seven years ago, it has guided China’s participation in international governance and been included in many UN resolutions, thus becoming an important part of a more just and reasonable international system and order envisioned. People around the world are now suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Afghans. At this special historical moment, we see clearly the need for a community of shared future in health and understand better its value in safeguarding the basic right to life and health and the practical significance of the aforementioned concept.
The Afghan people are no strangers to this philosophy and have in fact been deeply involved in and benefited from it. The Quran says, “O mankind, indeed we have created you from male and female, and have made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another.” The Quran also refers dozens of times to “Ummah”, meaning beings of common character and destiny. In these I see a world view according to which all men are of the same origin, a view of society in which all men are equals and a value of ethics that loves all sentient beings. All of these will contribute to our joint effort to build the community of shared future. Over the past decades, the Afghan people have made outstanding contribution to regional and global peace and stability by fighting at the forefront against terrorism. China and many other countries have also extended their helping hands by providing all-round support in the Afghan peace and reconstruction process and contributed to its socioeconomic development. This is a vivid example of developing lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity as a community of shared future.
In the millennia of friendly exchanges and mutual assistance, China and Afghanistan have long been a community through similar course of development. In recent years, the sense of community has further deepened through friendly cooperation in various fields and sublimated in the joint fight against the pandemic.
First, our two countries strongly agree on building a community of shared future for mankind. During the SCO summit in Bishkek last June, President Ghani and President Xi had a successful meeting. President Ghani praised China’s proposal to build a community of shared future for mankind and its support for economic globalization as exemplary in building a new type of international relations in the 21st century. Last month, Vice President Danish and I attended the handover ceremony of the first batch of Chinese aid to Afghanistan for COVID-19 response. The Vice President spoke highly of the Chinese assistance. He stressed that viruses respected no border or nationality and that people of the world must unite to fight the pandemic. The vision shared by leaders of our two countries has been a strong driving force for the development of our relations and cooperation.
Second, the two countries share the common goal of building a community of shared future for mankind. This common goal strongly inspires all members of the community to go beyond and bridge differences and act in solidarity and concert. The global public health crisis of COVID-19 not only directly threatens the lives and health of our two peoples but also profoundly impacts on the economy, society, politics, military affairs and security of the two countries. China and Afghanistan have gone into the common battlefield since the very beginning. Afghan leaders, officials, non-governmental organizations and ordinary people helped China within their capacity. China has since stabilisation of situation at home given full support to Afghanistan. Pandemic response is now a shared priority and human health and well-being is pursued by both countries under the concept of a community of shared future for mankind.
Third, the two countries are working together to build a community of shared future for mankind. China and Afghanistan signed memorandum of understanding on the Belt and Road Initiative in 2016. Since then, flights between Kabul and Urumqi have been resumed, a special direct freight train service has been operating, and Afghan produces such as pine nuts have been exported to China in steady flows. Through connectivity, the two countries share the bright prospect of economic development and prosperity. The current cooperation in pandemic response is the most concrete and vivid example of joint effort to build a community of shared future for mankind. Since the confirmation of the first COVID-19 case in Afghanistan, China has delivered three batches of supplies totaling more than ten tons. Chinese and Afghan medical experts have had to teleconferences to share the Chinese experiences in fighting the epidemic. These concrete deeds towards a community of shared future have benefited and will continue to benefit our two peoples.
China is not only an advocate of the concept of a community of shared future for mankind but also an active practitioner, contributing its strength to international cooperation in pandemic response. At the special summit of G20 leaders on COVID-19 response, President Xi Jinping delivered an important address entitled Working Together to Defeat the COVID-19 Outbreak. He stressed that what the international community needed most was a firm confidence, concerted actions and a great solidarity in pandemic response. With strengthened comprehensive international cooperation, mankind will foster a great synergy and jointly win the battle against a vicious infectious disease. With a deep belief in the vision a community of shared future for mankind, China stands ready to provide assistance within its capacity for other countries and contribute to the stability of the world economy. In the fight against the COVID-19 virus, China has made an enormous sacrifice and collaborated with the people of all countries with a great sense of solidarity, which fully demonstrates the sense of responsibility and action of the Communist Party of China as an influential political party in the world, China as a responsible big country and the Chinese as a peace-loving people in the journey towards a community of shared future for mankind.
COVID-19 is not the first time for humans to face a common threat, nor will it be the last. The pandemic has once again proven that building a community of shared future is the only right path. The China-Afghanistan cooperation in the fight indicates once again that a bright future for all mankind will only be possible through solidarity and cooperation. The Chinese people stand ready to work with the people of Afghanistan and other countries to win the fight against the pandemic at an early date and create a bright future together as a community.