Geopolitics

Afghanistan promotes participation in the Belt and Road Initiative

Seetao 2021.10.09
  • Regional interconnection and cross-regional cooperation projects are likely to be realized normally

In August, the Afghan Taliban entered the capital Kabul, marking that the change of the Afghan regime is a foregone conclusion. In the process of building the Belt and Road Initiative, Afghanistan is located between the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the China-Central Asia-Western Asia Economic Corridor. Whether the situation is stable or not has a direct impact on the two corridors.

The new Afghan government has been operating for a long time, and the whole world is carefully observing the "new face" of the Taliban. As we all know, Afghanistan, as one of the least developed countries in the world, has been affected by political turmoil, military disputes, and interference by foreign powers over the years, and its economic and social development is very backward. And China has always insisted on providing development assistance to Afghanistan without interfering in Afghanistan’s internal affairs. China is not only a neighboring country of Afghanistan, but also one of Afghanistan's most important economic partners. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said not long ago that he expects the Taliban to negotiate with all parties to establish an "open and inclusive" political structure. Earlier, Mujahid, spokesman for the Taliban in Afghanistan, also publicly stated that he hopes to establish a good relationship with China, and in fact "this process has already begun."

Ah hopes to continue to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative

Afghanistan is at the crossroads of East Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. In the process of building the Belt and Road Initiative, Afghanistan is located between the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the China-Central Asia-Western Asia Economic Corridor. The situation in Afghanistan is stable and stable. No, it has a direct impact on these two major corridors.

In early September 2021, Mujahid said in an interview with foreign media that the Taliban are very interested in the One Belt One Road project and emphasized that "China is our most important partner." Subsequently, Mujahid once again expressed his support for China's Belt and Road Initiative and hoped that the Taliban could join the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

In this regard, Song Wei, deputy director of the Institute of World Economic Research of the Ministry of Commerce, pointed out that the Taliban’s emphasis on China as its most important partner and its support for the Belt and Road Initiative reflected the Taliban’s development of China in the early days of the establishment of the new regime. The field is expected to play a greater role. Song Wei believes that “The Taliban’s positive attitude towards the Belt and Road Initiative reflects the Taliban’s recognition of the importance of the Belt and Road Initiative for Afghanistan’s post-war reconstruction and restoration of economic growth, and it therefore eagerly hopes to be supported by the Belt and Road Initiative.”

According to Song Wei, since 2015, the Chinese government has granted zero-tariff treatment to products originating in Afghanistan with 97% of the tariff lines exported to China, which has greatly promoted the export of Afghan products to China. Moreover, since China and Afghanistan signed the Memorandum of Understanding on the Belt and Road Initiative in 2016, China's support and investment have greatly promoted Afghanistan's economic development and social construction. For example, the opening of the China-Arab freight train and the resumption of direct flights from Kabul to Urumqi have greatly facilitated the economic exchanges and trade in goods between China and Arab countries. In addition, with the support of the Belt and Road Initiative, China has not only helped Afghanistan carry out a series of infrastructure assistance projects, but also actively carried out human resource training for all parties in Afghanistan, and carried out tripartite cooperation with all parties with complementary advantages.

It is precisely because the construction of the Belt and Road has brought tangible benefits to Afghanistan that the Taliban hope to continue to participate in the construction of the Belt and Road to attract more China to participate in the peace building in Afghanistan, create new development opportunities for Afghanistan, and bring about Strong support from all quarters.

The construction of the Belt and Road Initiative helps the stable development of Afghanistan

Song Wei told reporters that the current political turmoil in Afghanistan, the severe security situation, the epidemic and the food crisis have highlighted Afghanistan’s desperate need for support and assistance from the international community; coupled with the international community’s distrust of the Taliban regime, the United States is the leader. The sanctions imposed by the Western society on it have further aggravated Afghanistan’s development dilemma. But at the same time, the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan also means that Afghanistan has finally ushered in an important opportunity for its own independent development. Based on this, Afghanistan urgently needs to seize the opportunity to gradually realize its own economic recovery and development. The smooth implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative will promote policy communication, financial integration, and unimpeded trade between China and Afghanistan, and help Afghanistan open up a new development situation. From a long-term perspective, the joint construction of the Belt and Road will further intensify economic and trade ties between China and Arab countries, and help promote the future development, construction and independent development of Afghanistan.

The current security situation in Afghanistan is extremely uncertain and dangerous, the economic agenda is now difficult to carry out normally, and the channels for international development assistance are often blocked. Song Wei emphasized that "the development of investment and projects in Afghanistan under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative depends on whether it can build a broad and inclusive political structure, whether it can pursue a moderate and stable domestic and foreign policies, whether it can create a safe and stable domestic environment, and whether it can build a broad and inclusive political structure. It can create an inclusive and open business environment." Therefore, if conditions are met, all parties hope that the Belt and Road Initiative can bring greater benefits to the people of Afghanistan.

The peace and stability of Afghanistan are related to the prospects of the Belt and Road Initiative, and the Belt and Road Initiative will bring a bright future to Afghanistan.

The situation in Afghanistan affects Central Asia

"Whether Afghanistan can stop chaos and stabilize, control terrorism, and embark on a path of peaceful development is related to the security, stability and development of the entire Central Asian region." Song Wei said.

At present, Afghanistan’s main trading partners are mostly neighboring countries, and Iran, Pakistan, and China are its important trading partners. However, under the influence of years of war, Afghanistan's industrial development is backward, and exports are mainly agricultural products. Song Wei said that Afghanistan is located between the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the China-Central Asia-Western Asia Economic Corridor. It has obvious advantages in the construction of the One Belt and One Road. Peace and stability in Afghanistan are related to whether it can become an important international trade channel. It can become an important link in the regional value chain. The important location and abundant resources determine that a safe and stable Afghanistan will become an important link for the close economic development of Central Asia.

On September 8, the first meeting of Afghanistan’s neighboring foreign ministers was held in the form of a video conference. Many foreign ministers of Central Asia stated at the meeting that they would respect Afghanistan’s sovereign independence and territorial integrity, and look forward to the restoration of peace and development in Afghanistan. All participants believed that a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan meets the development needs of the country and the international community. All parties will help Afghanistan achieve security, stability and economic reconstruction, and provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

The reporter learned during the interview that China, as a good-neighborly and friendly neighbor of Afghanistan, has been actively helping Afghanistan in its post-war reconstruction. On September 8, State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi announced that China has decided to provide emergency humanitarian assistance worth 200 million yuan to Afghanistan, and when security conditions are met, help Afghanistan build projects that will improve people’s livelihood and support peace in Afghanistan. Reconstruction and economic development.

Song Wei expressed his belief that with the active assistance of China and other countries and the efforts of the Afghan people, Afghanistan is expected to achieve stability at an early date, further strengthen economic exchanges with neighboring countries, and promote stability and further prosperity in Central Asia. Editor/Xu Shengpeng


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