Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, June 17th, 2019

A Good Neighborhood is a Great Treasure (last Part)

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A Good Neighborhood is a Great Treasure (last Part)

As friendly neighbors connected by mountains and rivers, in the past millennia, China and Afghanistan have enjoyed friendship, mutual trust and mutual help rather than suspicion, dispute or war. We have thus developed an emotional bond. At the welcome reception in honor of Afghan King Mohammed Zahir Shah and his Queen in 1964, Chinese President Liu Shaoqi talked about the Afghan people’s brave fights and victories against powerful enemies in the previous hundred years and the Chinese people’s admiration for their heroic spirit and glorious achievement in safeguarding independence. The King replied that the Silk Road connected China with the West through Afghanistan and that in ancient Afghan books, China was described as the cradle of a glorious civilization. He cited an Afghan poem on the beauty of China and expressed Afghan people’s support for the Chinese people’s brave struggle against foreign invaders. The King also praised our friendship was the best model for two neighboring countries with different social and political systems. These eloquent speeches by the two heads of states half a century ago still inspire us today.    
China and Afghanistan are not only a community of common interests and shared future but also partners in the fight for stability against terrorism. East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) members engaging in terrorist and secessionist activities in Xinjiang are seeking shelters in Afghanistan, posing a great threat to China, Afghanistan and other countries in the region. Afghanistan is China’s only neighbor still suffering the turmoils of war. The Afghan people yearn for peace, stability, independence and self-strengthening. The Chinese people have the same desire for you.
China firmly supports the “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” peace and reconciliation process and the peace initiative and roadmap for reconciliation proposed by H.E. President Ashraf  Ghani. In recent years, China has done a lot to advance the peace talks. The Chinese side hopes that all relevant parties bear in mind the interests of Afghan country and nation, move closer towards each other, enhance mutual trust and open the peace process at an early date so that the Afghan people will suffer less and soldiers will bleed less. We hope that all stakeholders persist in multilateralism rather than unilateralism. Try scratching rather than stabbing in each other’s back. Join hands to act responsibly and according to popular desire. Security must be mutual and common as it should not be achieved at the cost of other countries’ security. China was, still is and will always be the supporter, promoter and facilitator of the Afghan peace and reconciliation process. We insist that mediation efforts must be peaceful, just and constructive. We habor no selfish interest, play no favoritism and spare no effort in this endeavor.
As a developing country, China provides assistance to Afghanistan within the best of its ability. The key to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan is not in our hands. The role of China is important yet limited. But one thing is for sure: China will play a more active role in the settlement of regional and international hotspot issues in Afghanistan and elsewhere. This is our responsibility and an expectation by other parties. China has a sincere desire for whatever is best for your country and treats Afghanistan as an equal. We have no intention to seek any geopolitical interests, foster any agent, interfere in the internal affairs, impose our will or market our political or economic model here. China is a country of sunshine. It is open and aboveboard in all its actions in Afghanistan. We befriend all parties here. This I believe is reason why the Afghan people trust and feel close to China.
China regards Afghanistan as an important partner in taking forward the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) connecting the two ends of the Eurasian continent and designed to restoring glory to the ancient Silk Road. It will help Afghanistan to make better use of its geographical and resource advantages and regain its status as a hub of regional transport and trade. A bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives flowers. The BRI, although a Chinese initiative, belongs to all countries including Afghanistan. It is a path to mutual benefits and win-win. China and Afghanistan have signed an MOU and are discussing about specific cooperation projects.
In the past few years, the Chinese people have overcome numerous difficulties and made critical contributions to peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan at the cost of lives. Terrorists attacked the Chinese Consulate General in Karachi, Pakistan on 23 November, sounding an alarm for all relevant countries. Security is the foundation of development and life is the premise of friendship. We need Afghan friends to take care of the security of all Chinese and our Embassy in your country and break any terrorist’ plot to undermine China-Afghanistan friendship.
China encourages, welcomes and supports the improvement of relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which is in the fundamental interest of these two friendly countries. As a Chinese proverb goes, “A friendly neighborhood is a treasure.” Afghanistan also has similar words of wisdom: “Guests often come and go while neighbors are always there”. China, Afghanistan and Pakistan have established the Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue Mechanism. It is our hope that the mechanism will help Afghanistan and Pakistan to develop dialogue, build up mutual trust, and improve relations and that it will contribute to enhanced trilateral political, economic, cultural and security cooperation.
Next year Afghanistan will celebrate its 100th anniversary of independence. The presidential election will also take place. The Afghan people are going through an extremely important and challenging historical period. As the Afghan saying goes,“the water of life could only be found in the darkness.”I firmly believe that the Afghan people with centuries-old civilization can take their destiny into their own hands, win the peace and strive for their dreams. In this process, the Chinese people, your brothers of the same mind, will always be there to help.
Prophet Mohammad taught us, “Seek knowledge, even if it is as far away as in China.” I warmly invite all friends to visit China. The country is not far away. It is by your side.

Liu Jinsong is the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

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