ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China on Monday urged Afghanistan to join the Belt & Road Initiative as well as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Addressing the opening session of the 4th Trilateral Dialogue between China, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Chinese envoy said, “Kabul can also act as a bridge to help expand connectivity between East, South and Central Asian regions.
Yao Jing said that all partners of peace would use their influence on fighting groups to join negotiating table for a peaceful solution to the conflict, saying: "China would also push the development process in war-torn Afghanistan as it is a facilitator of better dialogue and connection between Pakistan and Afghanistan."
He added, "CPEC is not against any country, it is purely an economic initiative aimed at the peaceful development of its neighbourhood," he added.
Underscoring the Pakistan's efforts for stability and peace in the region, The ambassador said that Islamabad is doing a lot to bring peace back in its neighbouring country, adding that peace in Afghanistan was China’s objective.
“The Pakistani government is working hard for a political settlement of the Afghan issue and China would cooperate with both Pakistan and Afghanistan to achieve peace," he added.
"Under the BRI, China wants peaceful development of all its neighbours," Yao said, adding that China would take all necessary measures to achieve peace in Afghanistan.
Speaking at the occasion, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said the 21st century was the Asian Century with a decline of the West. "The Greater South Asia has emerged as a geo-economic concept, driven by economy and energy, roads and railways and ports and pipeline, and Pakistan is the hub of this connectivity due to CPEC."
He added that Afghanistan was a natural partner in CPEC’s expansion. He further stressed that the focus should be culture, corridors and connectivity rather than conflict or confrontation.
Ambassador of Afghanistan to Pakistan Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal also shared his views, saying: "As an economist by profession, I believe that a line must be drawn between economics and politics in order for all partners to integrate in regional connectivity."
He further said that Kabul supports CPEC and its expansion into Afghanistan as it would further develop the country internally as well as strengthen its international relations within the region.
The event was hosted by Pakistan, China Institute (PCI) in collaboration with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung at a local hotel here.
PCI Chairman Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Afghan envoy Omar Zakhilwal, PCI Executive Director Mustafa Haider Seyd, Tsinghua University Dean Prof Dr Li Xiguang, China Center for International Economic Exchanges Chief Economist Dr Chen Wenling and Afghan parliamentarian Mirwais Yasini were also present at the occasion.
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