Enlightenment for China-Afghanistan Cooperation from China-Africa Cooperation
The Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation was successfully held during September 3rd to 4th. H.E. Chinese President Xi Jinping chaired the Summit. 40 presidents, 10 premiers, 1 vice president as well as the Chairman of the African Union Committee and UN Secretary-General attended the Summit. After the Summit, all sides published “The Beijing Declaration – Towards an Even Stronger China-Africa Community with a Shared Future”. This is the largest diplomatic event hosted in China this year, and has won applause and hearts of the African people. The summit opened a new era of China-Africa cooperation and demonstrated the new attitude of the major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, aroused the attention and interest of Afghan friends.
The interest is natural, as African countries and Afghanistan are all China’s good friends and partners. We are all developing countries, used to be colonized and bullied by external powers. We all share the common mission of embracing peace and development, and are jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative, facing unprecedented challenges such as hegemonism, power politics, protectionism and unilateralism and etc. Therefore, every step of China-Africa cooperation will resonate with Afghan friends.
The summit is a historical handshake between the world’s largest developing country and the continent with the largest number of developing countries. The summit sent a strong signal to the world that regardless of what happens in the past, present or future, no matter how much China’s overall GDP and per capita GDP is, China will regard itself as a developing country and take developing countries as the base of its diplomacy. China will take the realization of the common development, solidarity and cooperation of developing countries as its due cause. All these are decided by China’s national orientation, institutional attributes and value orientation.
Through the Summit, Afghan friends may have a further understanding of China’s good traditions and good ideas:
First, “A favor of a drop of water received should be repaid with a surging spring”. The African countries firmly support China’s efforts to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, “lift the People’s Republic of China into the United Nations” with their votes together with other friendly countries including Afghanistan. China will never forget this. In this regard, China has always been emphasizing the “four insist on”, that are insist on treating each other as equals, balancing the righteousness and interest, practical and efficiency, openness and inclusiveness. China advocates giving more and taking less, giving before taking and giving without asking for return. With open arms, we welcome African countries and Afghanistan aboard the express train of China’s development.
Second, the Chinese cherish the friendship in humble circumstance and hardship very much, and never despite the poor and curry favour with the rich. We respect Africa, love Africa and support Africa. We breathe together and share the common future with African people. President Xi met with all the African leaders attending the Summit, and exchanged views heart to heart. One African leader said sentimentally that China is helping African friends with practical deeds, and is a friend that will help you stand up when you are falling down.
Third, the Chinese will never accept anyone’s leadership, nor to be the leader of others and don’t wish the re-emerging of any group politics in the world. We advocate jointly building the China-Africa community with a shared future. This community is neither a military or political alliance, nor have any hierarchies. Its essences are joint responsibility, win-win cooperation, happiness for all, cultural co-prosperity, common security, and harmony co-existence. The above principle is also applying in Afghanistan.
Fourth, the Chinese emphasizes that “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others” and follow a “five-no” approach in the relationship with Africa that are: no interference in African countries’ pursuit of development paths that fit their national conditions; no interference in African countries’ internal affairs; no imposition of our will on African countries; no attachment of political strings to assistance to Africa; and no seeking of selfish political gains in investment and financing cooperation with Africa. We do as what we say. African countries are deeply impressed by the “five no” approach and many African representatives attending the summit said China has always been listening to Africa, understanding and supporting Africa, treating Africa as equals, jointly advocating justice with Africa, and fully safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of African countries as well as other developing countries. The approach is a sharp contrast with the inequality that has been long time exist in the international relations.
During the Summit, China decided to launch eight major initiatives in close collaboration with African countries in the next three years and beyond. Some of these initiatives are already being implemented, and some of them are of reference significance for the China-Afghanistan cooperation.
These includes: Implementing of the industrial promotion plan, encouraging Chinese companies to increase investment in Africa, building and upgrading a number of economic and trade cooperation zones in Africa, carrying out agricultural assistance programs; Implementing infrastructure connectivity projects, opening more direct flights between China and Africa; Implementing trade facilitation activities, increasing imports from Africa, particularly non-resource products and setting up relevant mechanisms to promote e-commerce cooperation; Undertaking aiding projects on green development, and ecological and environmental protection in Africa, strengthening exchanges and cooperation with Africa on climate change, ocean, desertification prevention and control, and wildlife protection; Setting up Luban Workshops in Africa to provide vocational training for young Africans, carrying out tailored programs to train 1,000 high-caliber Africans; Upgrading medical and health aid programs for Africa, particularly flagship projects such as the headquarters of the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention and China-Africa Friendship Hospitals, training more medical specialists for Africa; Implementing people-to-people exchange programs, establishing China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Center and China-Africa Media Cooperation Network; Setting up a China-Africa Peace and Security Fund, continuing to provide military aid to the Africa Union, launching security assistance programs to advance China-Africa cooperation in the fields of law and order, UN peacekeeping missions, fighting piracy and combating terrorism.
All of the above-mentioned eight major initiatives are the result of deep consultations and strategic coordination between China and Africa. They are based on African countries’ conditions and urgent needs, and are within China’s capacity. These initiatives are closely related to African people’s livelihood, grassroots, youths, and high-techs, and will enhance common people’s sense of security, sense of gain, sense of happiness. The initiatives worth studying for the Afghan friends, and use it for reference in promoting China-Afghanistan cooperation.
Although it is far away from China, Africa cares for the Belt and Road Initiative very much and gives support to it, set off a wave of jointly construction. Afghanistan, the heart of Asia and a neighbor of China, has the natural emotion and unique connectivity advantages to revitalize the ancient Silk Road, and it is also an important partner for China to achieve shared growth through consultation and collaboration. Afghanistan can be down-to-earth and adapt to its own conditions, become a practical promoter and early beneficiary in the jointly construction of the Belt and Road Initiative.
After the summit, Mr. Deby, President of Chad said that, “it was impressive to see so many African leaders attending a summit and exchanging ideas on working together towards a China-Africa community with a shared future in a fraternal and friendly way. It reflected Africa’s trust in President Xi and China, as well as their expectations and confidence in the Africa-China partnership”, “Chad hopes to learn from China’s development experience, welcomes Chinese investment and technology, and continuously deepens cooperation between the two countries in various fields”. I do believe that, it is also the Afghan friends’ feeling to this summit, and expectations to China.