China, Pakistan, Afghanistan issue joint statement on trilateral meeting

Afghanistan, China and Pakistan have collectively underscored the critical importance of trilateral cooperation in promoting the objective of a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

Following a trilateral meeting between Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari of Pakistan, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang of China and the Acting Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi of Afghanistan, on Saturday, a joint statement was issued noting that the three sides resolved to further deepen and expand their cooperation in the security, development and political domains based on the principles of mutual respect, equal-footed consultation and mutual benefit.

They underscored the need to tackle security challenges posing a serious threat to regional and global security, and directly impacting the stability and economic prosperity of the entire region.

The foreign ministers also agreed to coordinate and cooperate on security, organized crimes, drugs smuggling etc. and called on the international community to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation, and provide necessary supplies, equipment and technical assistance in this regard to the relevant countries.

The statement noted that they would not allow any individual, group or party, to use their territories to harm and threaten regional security and interests, or conduct terrorist actions and activities.

“All three sides underscored the need to refrain from intervening into internal affairs of Afghanistan, and to promote Afghan peace, stability and reconstruction,” the statement read.

They pledged to explore realistic pathways to revive Afghanistan’s economy including investment possibilities aimed at industrialization and job creation.

The foreign ministers highlighted the urgent humanitarian support needed in Afghanistan and stressed the need to “delink” the issue from politics.

The need for increased trade and connectivity was also noted, including the need to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan. They stressed the importance of existing projects including CASA-1000, TAPI, Trans-Afghan Railways, among others stating these would enhance regional connectivity as well as ensure economic uplift and prosperity for the people of this region.

Expressing satisfaction at the existing trilateral cooperation, the three sides agreed to carry out exchange and training programs and to strengthen people-to-people exchanges by conducting the trilateral programs in line with the List of China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Practical Cooperation Projects, adopted by the foreign ministers in this dialogue.

The ministers “called upon the international community to engage constructively with the Afghan side. In this regard, they acknowledged the efforts made under the aegis of various mechanisms and formats, including in particular, the Neighbouring Countries of Afghanistan, to promote dialogue and constructive engagement with the Interim Afghan Government. The three sides also urged the international community to assist Afghanistan in countering narcotics effectively and develop alternative crops to enhance its capacity for independent and sustainable development.”

In addition, they urged the relevant countries to lift their unilateral sanctions against Afghanistan and return the assets overseas for the benefit of the Afghan people, and create opportunities for economic development and prosperity in Afghanistan.