Afghan high-level officials, including the Second Vice President Sarwar Danesh, attended the 3rd Silk Road (Dunhuang) International Cultural Expo in Chinese Province of Gansu, which is called the sister city of Bamyan province, Afghanistan. The expo was held on Thursday and Friday in Dunhuang city to promote cultural exchanges among nations.
The expo also aimed at promoting the spirit of the Silk Road, i.e. peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit.
“Cultural exchange through the Silk Road was as diverse as the trade of the goods and products,” Sarwar Danesh said in his keynote speech in the opening ceremony of the expo. He said the Silk Road in the UNESCO Plan had been termed as the “Road of Dialogue” to facilitate the dialogue between Eastern and Western countries. Adding that Kabul government fully supports and confirms the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, Danesh said: “Afghanistan is capable to export through Silk Road to European and Far-East countries. Afghan and Chinese investors are able to invest in both countries with the use of projects related to Silk Road.” He went on to say that “the reconstruction of Wakhan Corridor in Badakhshan province, Afghanistan, an important gateway in Silk Road, is crucial for economic and commercial growth of Afghanistan and the region.”
It is self-evident that the megaproject of BRI carries much significance for Afghanistan, which intends to regain its historical position as an “Asian transit and trade roundabout” connecting South Asia to Central Asia and East Asia to West Asia. That is, Afghanistan is situated at the heart of Asia and its provinces of Bamyan, Balkh, Kabul, Herat and Kandahar formed some of the key Silk Road passages through which business, culture, religions and syncretic philosophies flowed to Eurasia.
Reiterating cultural exchanges between China and Afghanistan, Danesh said Gansu and Bamyan were two sister cities, two cultural and historical sisters and “the symbol of shared culture and history between Afghanistan and China”.
Detailing that Sino-Afghan officials relations started in 1949, Danesh said the two countries had extended their relations since then in various fields and both Kabul and Beijing governments are determined to promote their mutual relations more than ever based on mutual trust and mutual respect. “The power and solid presence of China in areas of politics, economy, science and technology has formed a distinct neighbor and a notable and honest partner for us,” Danesh maintained.
In terms of combating terrorism, Danesh called Chinese government to support Afghanistan and use its authority and position in the region to provide peace and stability in the region in the whole and in Afghanistan in particular.
This year, Afghan high-ranking officials, including Afghan President Muhammad Ashraf Ghani, Afghan former president Hamid Karzai, the second deputy Chief Executive officer Haji Muhammad Muhaqqiq, the Second Vice President Sarwar Danesh and some ministers and other provincial-level dignitaries travelled to China on different occasions. Moreover, Chinese officials and delegates also had trip to Kabul. The exchanges of high-level officials’ trips show the friendly relations between the two countries, which will further enhance the mutual cooperation and mutual understanding between Kabul and Beijing.
It is believed that comparing only to a decade ago, the level of understanding between Afghan and Chinese nations have increased since the cultural exchanges and people-to-people contacts have been promoted between the two countries. The level of public understanding about China has increased in Afghanistan and Afghan nation views China as a sincere friend, which is in pursuit of peace and stability and continues its relations on the basis of mutual respect and mutual trust. In other words, with the traveling of Afghan officials, media delegates and businessmen to China and the scholarships Chinese government provided to Afghan students, the public understanding about China has promoted in Afghanistan. With the continuation of the exchanges, both nations will understand more about each other and will enjoy more friendly relations in the future.
China is strongly determined to promote cultural exchanges between China and the outside world, seek regional peace and stability and take more concrete steps in building a community with shared future for mankind. China also seeks to open wider to the outside world with the aim of enhancing mutual relations, promoting multilateralism and contributing to regional economy. Moreover, Chinese officials along with many world leaders believe that the BRI is not necessarily a road to focus on economy but it is also a route of cultural exchanges and route of dialogue among nations for more understanding and building stronger trust, which will also contribute to global peace and stability and promote the spirit of ancient Silk Road and the spirit of brotherhood among nations of different cultures and religions.