Pakistan, China explore Afghanistan inclusion in CPEC

Pakistan, China explore Afghanistan inclusion in CPEC

Pakistan, China and Afghan foreign ministers discuss ways to encourage economic and security cooperation

Pakistan and China will look at extending the $57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday.

Speaking after the first trilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Wang said China hoped the economic corridor could benefit the whole region and act as an impetus for development.

“So China and Pakistan are willing to look at with Afghanistan, on the basis of win-win, mutually beneficial principles, using an appropriate means to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan,” he added.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said his country and China were “iron brothers”, but did not directly mention the prospect of Afghanistan joining the corridor.

“The successful implementation of CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) projects will serve as a model for enhancing connectivity and cooperation through similar projects with neighbouring countries, including Afghanistan, Iran and with central and west Asia,” he said.

The first trilateral China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Minister’s Dialogue is being held in Beijing to discuss development, connectivity, security and counter-terrorism.

The trilateral meet is part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s initiative to strengthen relations and develop cooperation between the three neighbouring countries.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that cordial relations between Islamabad and Kabul are in the interest of Afghanistan as well as the whole region.

He said China, Afghanistan and Pakistan, as three neighbors, will naturally try to strengthen cooperation amongst each other and this is fully in accordance with our common interests, and is a good thing for us.

He further emphasized in joint press conference that China had agreed to help Afghanistan in the peace process, and that Pakistan would take “practical action” with respect to the Afghan peace process.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif emphasized that peace is the collective goal of the three neighbourly nations and peace and development are in the interests of all the three countries.

He also stressed on the importance of border management, the return of Afghan refugees and intelligence sharing for effective counter-terrorism cooperation.

Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani said that there is no scope for having any terrorist safe havens in the region and Afghan government is committed to cooperating with China because the country respects the Afghan government.

According to china media President Xi Jinping has sought to present China as a responsible alternative to the US, shifting from a longstanding policy of keeping a low profile in international affairs.

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