China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers' Dialogue expected to inject stability into regional situation
Published: May 06, 2023 06:17 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang is visiting Pakistan and attending the China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers' Dialogue in Pakistan, a meeting conducive to building consensus and injecting stability and positive energy into the uncertain international situation.

Not long ago, Qin attended the fourth Foreign Ministers' Meeting among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan and the "Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan Plus Afghanistan" Foreign Ministers' Dialogue, and chaired the second Informal Meeting on Afghanistan Between Foreign Ministers of China, Russia, Pakistan and Iran. The China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers' Dialogue in Pakistan is another multilateral dialogue related to the Afghan issue that Qin has attended in less than a month.

The Middle East has been in a state of conflict and tension for decades, during which regional countries have missed out on many development opportunities and have not achieved sustained regional security. China 's aim to uphold world peace and promote common development conforms to the trend of the times. China hopes to help Afghanistan out of its predicament, and Afghanistan's stable development also has positive implications for China and other neighboring countries, Li Weijian, a research fellow with the Institute for Foreign Policy Studies of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies told the Global Times.

As two important neighbors of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan can coordinate their positions through the trilateral dialogue mechanism to jointly advance the situation in Afghanistan, in particular to avoid the spillover of security issues in Afghanistan to neighboring countries, and urge the Afghan interim government to fulfill its commitments through dialogue and contact.

According to a spokesman for the World Food Program, the malnutrition rates in Afghanistan are at record highs with half the country enduring severe hunger throughout the year. Afghanistan is facing daunting challenges and in dire need of more support and assistance from the outside world. It's expected this dialogue can be seen as an "opening ceremony" of providing much-needed aid to Afghanistan, experts noted.

By contrast, the US provoked a war in Afghanistan under the banner of "war on terror." However, over the past 20 years, the problem of terrorism in Afghanistan has not been solved, but has become even more serious. Issues such as drug proliferation, living standards, and security still face serious challenges. In lights of this situation, the US has only sought to shirk its responsibility. The hasty withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan in 2021 left a mess in the country, which is also an important root cause of the current crisis in Afghanistan.

Liu Zhongmin, a professor at the Middle East Studies Institute of Shanghai International Studies University, told the Global Times that China has always advocated respecting Afghanistan's sovereignty and independence. Afghanistan has long been subject to external interference, including the Western powers led by the US and some regional powers. This is also a very significant reason for Afghanistan's plight since the war.

In addition, since US troops withdrew from Afghanistan in 2021, China has been providing support to Afghanistan for peace reconstruction and economic development. China also emphasizes that the international community needs to continue to provide Afghanistan with assistance in economy and people's livelihood to promote Afghanistan's economic reconstruction.

Currently, the counter-terrorism situation in Afghanistan remains serious. There have been criticisms from the international community, particularly on issues such as women's rights and opportunities for education.

The core of China's position on the Afghan issue is that it hopes the country can achieve stability and peace, not to continue to be a breeding ground for terrorist elements, build an inclusive government and exercise moderate governance, so as to dispel the concerns of the international community, especially its neighbors. China hopes that Afghan interim government will protect the rights of all Afghans, including women, and continue to make efforts in that direction that meet the expectations of such people and the international community, according to Geng Shuang, China's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

The "Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan Plus Afghanistan" Foreign Ministers' Dialogue and the China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers' Dialogue are important platforms for exchanging views and cooperating on issues related to Afghanistan, and can help build consensus among regional countries on the Afghan issue.

China looks forward to exchanging views with Afghanistan and Pakistan on the Afghan situation and trilateral cooperation through this dialogue, expanding the consensus among the three countries, consolidating mutual trust, and working together to promote regional peace, stability, and development.