China releases position paper on Afghan issue to help reconstruction
Regional countries expect China to play a more active role: expert
Published: Apr 12, 2023 02:29 PM
Afghan people carry China-donated relief supplies in Jawzjan province, Afghanistan, Aug. 24, 2022. A total of 75 families who lost their houses in a recent fire that occurred in Faizabad district of the northern Jawzjan province have received humanitarian assistance donated by China, a provincial officer said Thursday. Photo:Xinhua

Afghan people carry China-donated relief supplies in Jawzjan province, Afghanistan, Aug. 24, 2022. Photo:Xinhua

China released an 11-point paper to fully elaborate its position on the Afghan issue and express firm support for the reconstruction of the war-torn country on Wednesday - the same day as Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang started a two-day visit to Uzbekistan where he will also attend the fourth Foreign Ministers' Meeting among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan in Samarkand. 

Analysts noted that China is taking concrete measures to push further coordination on the Afghan issue and together with regional countries to help with Afghanistan's reconstruction and revitalization.

The paper, titled "China's Position on the Afghan Issue," lists China's adherence to the "Three respects" and "Three nevers," as the first point. These are respect for Afghanistan's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, to respect the independent choices made by the Afghan people, and to respect the religious beliefs and national customs of Afghanistan. China never interferes in Afghanistan's internal affairs, never seeks selfish interests in Afghanistan and never pursues so-called sphere of influence. 

Afghanistan is in a crucial period of moving from turbulence to stabilization. To fully outline China's policy and propositions in a systematic way and build consensus and synergy among countries in the region and elsewhere on stabilizing and helping Afghanistan, the foreign ministry released China's Position on the Afghan Issue, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Wang noted that the fourth Foreign Ministers' Meeting among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan will be held in Samarkand on Thursday and China is willing to work with neighboring countries to help Afghan to walk on the path for stable development and to realize regional peace and prosperity. 

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin will attend the fourth Foreign Ministers' Meeting among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan in Samarkand, Uzbekistan and visit Uzbekistan from Wednesday to Thursday, according to information from the Foreign Ministry. 

Observers said that the paper on the Afghan issue came on the heels of a 12-point positon paper on Ukraine crisis which was released in February, also highlighting China's consistent stance in seeking and making peaceful solutions for heated geopolitical issues.

Qin will meet with President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and hold talks with Acting Foreign Minister Bakhtiyor Saidov. They will exchange views on bilateral relations, high-level exchanges between the two sides and international and regional issues of shared interest, according to Foreign Ministry.

Qin's visit will further deepen mutually beneficial cooperation and bilateral relations with Uzbekistan and Central Asian countries to inject stability in the region amid global spillover effect of the Ukraine crisis, analysts said. 

The Wednesday paper which collectively and thoroughly elaborates China's stance on Afghan issue will help coordinate neighboring countries' stance and push a different way from the West and the US in solving conflicts within Afghanistan through political dialogue, Zhu Yongbiao, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at Lanzhou University, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

The international community, especially regional countries, expect China to play a more active role on the Afghan issue given its selfless assistance to Afghanistan people, Zhu noted.  

The third Foreign Ministers' Meeting among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan was held in Tunxi, East China's Anhui Province in 2022 and foreign ministers or high-level representatives from China, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan drafted a joint statement and an initiative in pooling resources and coordinating to increase their support for Afghanistan, analysts said.   

The paper released on Wednesday showcases China's efforts in promoting mechanism of the foreign ministers of Afghanistan neighboring countries a step forward to bring more light to Afghanistan reconstruction, Hu Shisheng, director of the Institute for South Asian Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times. 

Hu noted that currently, Afghanistan is facing new historical changes - after the withdrawal of the US and Western troops, the country has seen no proxy wars and more autonomy. 

However, the situation is fragile and can be reversed at any time. And the sanctions imposed by the US and the West are squashing Afghanistan's chances of future development. While China and regional countries are working to help Afghanistan regain the capability to revitalize itself, the US and Western countries should also take their due responsibility, said Hu. 

The Wednesday paper urged the US to live up to its commitments and responsibilities to Afghanistan and noted that "by seizing Afghanistan's overseas assets and imposing unilateral sanctions, the US, which created the Afghan issue in the first place, is the biggest external factor that hinders substantive improvement in the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan."

Zhu noted that more efforts from the international community are required given the current problems in Afghanistan, including the Afghan Taliban interim government's ban on women's access to education, domestic and regional measures on countering terrorism and Afghanistan's fight against narcotics. 

All these topics will be discussed on Thursday during State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin and other foreign ministers' meeting from neighboring countries, said Zhu, noting that a stable Afghanistan not only fits the interests of Afghanistan people but will also contribute to regional stability, creating favorable conditions for countries in the region to seek better development.