Address at the Reception of the 60th Anniversary of China-Afghanistan Diplomatic Relations
H.E. Li Yuanchao, Vice President of the People’s Republic of China
Kabul, 3 November 2015
Your Excellency President Ashraf Ghani,
Your Excellency Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah,
Your Excellency Mr. Hamid Karzai
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am deeply honored to join President Ghani at this reception marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Afghanistan. I wish to extend, on behalf of the Chinese people, cordial greetings and best wishes to the Afghan people, and pay high tribute to the people from both countries who have taken a keen interest in and supported the friendly relations between our two countries.
The recent massive earthquake that hit northern Afghanistan has caused severe loss of life and property. President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang sent messages of sympathy and condolences to President Ghani and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah. The Chinese government has announced 10 million yuan of humanitarian supplies to Afghanistan, which have already arrivedat the Kabul airport today. I have been entrusted by President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang to announce on behalf of the Chinese government and people, the provision of another one million US dollars of grants in emergency aid to the Afghan government. And, the Red Cross Society of China has provided in advance 100,000 US dollars of grants in emergency assistance for disaster relief. We are ready to provide further assistance to the best of our ability in line with Afghan needs. We are convinced that under the leadership of President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the Afghan people will prevail over the difficulty and rebuild their home.
As close neighbors, people of our two countries enjoy time-honored exchanges. Over 2,000 years ago, we were connected by the ancient Silk Road. Sixty years ago, the establishment of diplomatic relations opened a new era of friendship and cooperation between our two countries. Looking back at the past extraordinary 60 years, we feel proud that our two countries have stood with each other in time of difficulty and joined hands in pursuing common development in time of peace. We have established a strategic cooperative partnership and the friendship between the two peoples has grown ever stronger.
Past experience tells us that the sound and steady growth of China-Afghanistan relations can be attributed to the following reasons: First, leaders of successive generations of both countries have kept our relations on the right track from a strategic perspective; second, both countries have been committed to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and treated each other with respect and as equals; third, we have engaged in win-win cooperation, and the livelihood projects China has undertaken in Afghanistan have brought the two peoples closer; fourth, we have had close coordination in regional and international affairs to uphold the common interests of our two countries and all developing countries.
Afghanistan is in the first year of its transformation decade and has embarked on a historic journey toward a new Afghanistan under the leadership of the national unity government. The Chinese people are now striving to achieve the two centenary goals and realize the Chinese dream of great national renewal. Our two peoples share the same aspiration for better lives and enjoy broad prospects of cooperation for common development.
This year is the Year of China-Afghanistan Friendship and Cooperation. I have come to Afghanistan on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of our diplomatic relations to discuss with Afghan leaders how to better implement the important consensus reached between the two presidents last year, further align our development strategies, and promote the friendship and cooperation between our two countries. This morning, President Ghani and I talked for two hours and signed three cooperation agreements. Both sides agree that efforts need to be made in the following areas:
First, maintain high-level visits and meetings. China welcomes Dr. Abdullah to attend the Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to be held in China next month.
Second, effectively implement bilateral development cooperation projects. China will meet its commitment of providing 1.5 billion yuan of grants to Afghanistan in three years’ time. This year China will provide 500 million yuan to build affordable housing. China is willing to help Afghanistan draw up an infrastructure development plan to enhance connectivity with its neighbors. China welcomes Afghanistan to take an active part in the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative.
Third, deepen counter-terrorism, defense and security cooperation. China is ready to help Afghanistan build its counter-terrorism and defense capabilities and work with Afghanistan to jointly uphold security and stability of our two countries and the region at large.
Fourth, support Afghanistan in improving its internal and external environments. China supports the “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” reconciliation process and effort by Afghanistan to improve relations with its neighbors. The two sides will strengthen cooperation in the Istanbul Process, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and other regional and international mechanisms, and urge the international community to increase support and fulfill assistance commitments to Afghanistan.
China has been and will always be Afghanistan’s trustworthy neighbor and friend. We sincerely hope to see Afghanistan achieve peace, stability and development at an early date and the Afghan people share in the fruits of human progress. Let us work together to open a better future of both our countries and pass the long friendship between our two countries on from generation to generation.