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Promoting the high-quality development of the BRI, Ensuring China-Afghanistan friendship sails steadily
2022-11-15 20:44

Over 2,100 years ago, a Chinese envoy Zhang Qian was sent to Central Asia twice. His journeys opened the door to friendly contacts between China and Central Asian countries as well as the Silk Road linking East and West, Asia and Europe.

The over 2,000-year history of exchanges demonstrates that on the basis of solidarity, mutual trust, equality, inclusiveness, mutual learning and win-win cooperation, countries of different races, beliefs and cultural backgrounds are fully capable of sharing peace and development. This is the valuable inspiration we have drawn from the ancient Silk Road.

In 2013, in order to strengthen economic ties, deepen mutual cooperation and broaden development space for all countries on the Eurasian continent, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road initiative (BRI) during his visit to Central and Southeast Asia. 

The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) held recently wrote in its report that ‘We will promote the high-quality development of the BRI’. This is China's solemn commitment to continue to contribute to the world's development, and provides a fundamental guideline for continuing to promote the high-quality development of the BRI in the new era.

With a more proactive opening-up strategy of China, the BRI has become a popular international public product and platform for international cooperation. China has become a major trading partner of more than 140 countries and regions. China's total trade in goods ranks first in the world, and attracts the highest foreign and outbound investments in the world. China has formed a larger, broader and deeper pattern of opening up to the world.

Promoting the high-quality development of the BRI is a realistic need to adapt to the coordinated development of global economy, society and environment. At present, momentous changes unseen in a century are accelerating across the world. The world economy is in doldrums, counter-globalization is rising, the global industrial and supply chain is reshaping. The deficit in peace, development, security and governance is growing. All of this is posing unprecedented challenges for human society. 

Promoting the high-quality development of the BRI insists ‘pulling hands’ rather than ‘loosening hands’, ‘tearing down walls’ rather than ‘building walls’. We continue to promote policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration, people-to-people bond. This reflects the common aspiration of all countries, especially the developing countries, to promote peace and development. It helps to promote all-round connectivity and enhance the sustainable development capacity of the BRI countries. China follows the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, pursues open, green and clean cooperation and high-standard and sustainable development that benefits the people.

Promoting the high-quality development of the BRI

is an inevitable requirement to adapt to the high-quality development of China's economy. China has entered a new stage of development, implementing the new development concept and building a new development pattern, which provides more market, investment and growth opportunities for the BRI partners. To achieve this goal, we will fully implement the new development concept with hard connectivity as the direction, soft connectivity as the support and people-to-people connectivity as the bond. China's promotion of the high-quality development of the BRI has made real achievements. So far, more than 140 countries and 30 international organizations have participated in the initiate, making the BRI a popular international public product and international cooperation platform.

China will continue to plan for the construction of a new development pattern and the BRI. Land transport routes will be safe and unimpeded, have unique strengths and supplement each other while maritime connectivity will be streamlined. A smooth connection between the industrial chain and supply chain will support the dual circulation of domestic and foreign markets. China will continue to steadily carry out cooperation in new areas such as health, green, digital and innovation, and cultivate new growth points for cooperation. China will continue to support developing countries in green and low-carbon energy development, promote information sharing and deepen cooperation in environment and climate governance. China will continue to deepen cooperation in the digital field, advance the Silk Road E-Commerce initiative and build a digital cooperation pattern. China will continue to implement the Science and Technology Innovation Action Plan, strengthen international cooperation on intellectual property protection, and create an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for science and technology development.

Promoting the high-quality development of the BRI is an inevitable choice of BRI's long-term perspective. In policy coordination, the BRI emphasizes deepening political mutual trust, playing a leading and catalytic role in policy communication, and exploring the establishment of more cooperation mechanisms. In infrastructure connectivity, the BRI emphasizes deepening interconnection, improving the layout of interconnection of land, sea, sky and network, deepening cooperation on traditional and new infrastructure projects. In unimpeded trade , the BRI emphasizes expanding the scale of trade with neighboring countries, encouraging the import of more high-quality goods, improving the level of trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, promoting balanced and win-win development of trade, while continuing to expand tripartite or multi-market and international production capacity cooperation. In currency circulation, the BRI emphasizes attracting the participation of multilateral development institutions and financial institutions of developed countries, and improving the diversified investment and financing system. In people-to-people bonds, the BRI emphasizes deepening humanities exchanges and forming a large pattern of diversified and interactive humanities exchanges.

Under the promotion of the BRI, a framework including six corridors, six means of communication, multiple countries, and multiple ports has basically taken shape. The soft connectivity of rules and standards that enable the deep integration of national economies has been continuously advanced. A large number of cooperation projects to promote economic development and improve people's livelihood in the BRI countries have blossomed, allowing more and more BRI countries to benefit from them and change the fate of themselves and their families by their own hands.

At the opening ceremony of the 20th CPC National Congress, President Xi Jinping said that China is prepared to invest more resources in global development cooperation. It is committed to narrowing the North-South gap and supporting and assisting other developing countries in accelerating development. As a good neighbor, brother and partner, China has always cherished the traditional friendship between China and Afghanistan and is committed to providing assistance to the Afghan people within its capacity. We not only say this to the fraternal Afghan people, but also do so.

In the past year, Chinese government provided 300 million RMB in emergency aid to Afghanistan and continued to complete 1 billion RMB in bilateral aid. We have expanded economic and trade cooperation with Afghanistan and imported more than 1,000 tons of pine nuts from Afghanistan through the ‘Pine Nut Air Corridor’ to help Afghan people increase their income. Starting from December 1st, China will implement zero tariff on 98% of products from Afghanistan, which is another important measure to support the Afghan people to generate income and improve livelihood .

China has also consistently stood up for Afghanistan in the United Nations and other international multilateral forums, calling on the international community to support Afghanistan in emerging from its plight, improving its livelihood and restoring its development. China will continue to work with the international community to support Afghanistan's participation in regional cooperation and connectivity, unleash its geopolitical advantages and achieve stability and prosperity.

China and Afghanistan have agreed to build the BRI together and issued a joint statement in 2016. China welcomes Afghanistan's participation in the BRI and will continue to support Afghanistan's integration into regional cooperation by taking advantage of its location as a natural continental bridge and the center of Asia. Recently, Afghanistan also reiterated its support for the BRI, saying that Afghanistan will continue to make efforts to leverage its geopolitical and resource advantages to become an participant in regional connectivity, energy transportation and trade. Both of the two countries are willing to further strengthen cooperation and jointly promote the construction of the BRI.

Peace and stability in Afghanistan are vital to the development and prosperity of the region. Now, the Afghan people are finally holding their future destiny firmly in their own hands. In the new era, China is willing to work together with Afghanistan to promote the docking of BRI with Afghanistan's development strategy, as well as the extension of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan. BRI will bring more opportunities for Afghanistan's economic construction and post-war reconstruction, and bring more tangible benefits to the Afghan people.

The BRI originated in China, but the opportunities and achievements belong to the world. China is willing to work together with Afghanistan to promote the high-quality development of the BRI and build a closer partnership of health, connectivity, green development and openness. We will create a better future for the two peoples and ensure the steady and sustained progress in our friendship .

I sincerely hope and believe that in the near future, with the joint efforts of the Afghan people, China and other regional countries, Afghanistan will be reborn and truly play its unique geopolitical role as the ‘Heart of Asia’ and ‘Crossroad of Asia’, develop into an important hub of Eurasian continent, and contribute to the long-term stability and peaceful development of the region.

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