Dr. Wang Li

Over the past months, there is no doubt that the war in Ukraine has been the top news in the media. However, the issue of Afghanistan reconstruction has never faded away from the international agenda. Recently, the dynamic of China’s diplomacy has grabbed the world’s attention in Afghanistan and beyond.

On March 21, Chines top diplomat Wang Yi took the trip to Islamabad, where he was invited to attend the 48th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which covers 57 countries with nearly two billion people in the world.

Since the theme of this session of the OIC is “Partnering for Unity, Justice, and Development,” Foreign Minister Wang praised its special significance amid the current vicissitudes of the world and reiterated that China and Islamic countries shared historic missions in the great revival of the two great civilizations through peace rather than clashes.

China indeed stands ready to be a responsible partner of the OIC in terms of solidarity and coordination, development and revitalization, security and stability, and mutual learning and understanding in a rapidly fragmented global community.

On March 25, Foreign Minister Wang Yi appeared in New Delhi, where he held talks with his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. It is truly a “diplomatic coup” for both China and India against the background of the Cold Peace that had existed between the two sides for years.

However, during his trip to India, Wang Yi highlighted that as great ancient civilizations and the two emerging significant economies of the world, China and India are not rivals but partners in promoting multi-polarization of the world order.

The two sides would be able to safeguard their respective legitimate concerns and shared interests in global affairs. Echoing the growing uncertainties in the world, China and India agreed to consult on significant issues, including mutual support to the stability in the region and multilateral world order.

Then, on March 30-31, China chaired the Third Foreign Ministers’ Meeting among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan, followed by “The First Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan plus Afghan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue.”

Since the sea changes occurred in Afghanistan seven months ago, no humanitarian assistance has been provided timely to the war-torn country in real terms. Given Afghanistan having gone through such traumatic and physical sufferings over the past decades, of which was the twenty-year U.S.-led military occupation, China and other countries bordering Afghanistan have encouraged the governance efforts of the Afghan interim government.

These efforts include building a moderate and inclusive government internally and to adhere to good neighborliness in foreign affairs.

First, from realpolitik and moral perspective, China cannot allow Afghanistan once again to fall into a scenario of domestic chaos and poverty.

To that end, China has worked toward a peaceful, stable, developing, and prosperous Afghanistan as it is the aspiration of all the Afghan people and the common interests of regional countries and the international community. The line of reasoning behind this is China’s consistent policy toward Afghanistan since 1955, when the two sides extended recognition to each other in line with the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence.

Second, China has endorsed the post-war Afghanistan reconstruction based on collective security and multilateral approaches. For example, it has created the concert of six neighboring countries of Afghanistan, the platform of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states, and the four-power consultation among China, Pakistan, Russia, and Iran.

The SCO has played a unique role in coordination and cooperation among its member states, while China has worked on regular meetings of special envoys or multilateral working forums on the Afghanistan issue.

Third, China has reiterated the role of the United Nations in promoting peace and stability and coordinating assistance in Afghanistan and called on international financial institutions to help Afghanistan embark on a path of sound development.

Since its sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected by all the countries, including the United States, the meetings of foreign ministers urged Washington to lift the freeze on Afghanistan’s overseas assets to the Afghan people to help their country to move toward peace and stability and potentially acting a land-bridge for regional interconnection.

In this context, the dynamic of China’s diplomacy will affect the future of Afghanistan is not only in line with the “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” principle but also the prospect of Eurasian economic integration through closer cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Belt and Road Initiative.

In this way, Afghanistan should not be regarded as a failed state yet as an equal and pacific member of the Asian family with full diplomatic recognition from the international community.

*The writer is a Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs-Jilin University, China.

*The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not necessarily represent those of the institutions.

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