Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Amir Khan Muttaqi, acting foreign minister of the Afghan interim government, on the sidelines of the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, July 28, 2022. (China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Handout via Xinhua)
TASHKENT, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with Amir Khan Muttaqi, acting foreign minister of the Afghan interim government, here on Thursday over further strengthening the two countries' relations.
During their meeting on the sidelines of the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Wang said he and Muttaqi have met four times since the beginning of this year, which demonstrates the traditional friendship between the people of the two countries.
Recalling the severe earthquake hitting Afghanistan earlier, Wang said that China felt empathy for Afghanistan and sent urgently needed supplies to the country through land, sea and air routes as quickly as possible, which has written a new chapter in China-Afghanistan friendship.
Meetings of the two working groups between the two countries on humanitarian assistance and economic reconstruction have been respectively advancing smoothly, and reached new consensuses on bilateral cooperation, Wang noted.
He said that China appreciates the Afghan interim government's endeavor to overcome the four challenges of a cold winter, an earthquake, floods and sanctions, making unremitting efforts in reconstruction, recovery and the improvement of people's livelihood, and making steady progress towards the goal of long-term peace and stability in the country.
China is ready to push for dovetailing the Belt and Road Initiative with Afghanistan's national development strategies, support the extension of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan and share China's development opportunities, he said.
He announced that China will grant zero tariff treatment to 98 percent of the tariff lines from Afghanistan to China and is willing to import more high quality products and specialties from Afghanistan.
China appreciates Afghanistan's firm attitude on drug control and is ready to help Afghanistan develop alternative planting, Wang added.
The senior Chinese official stressed that China will continue to urge the United States and its Western allies to lift unreasonable sanctions against Afghanistan and earnestly fulfill their primary responsibility for Afghanistan's economic reconstruction.
China, Wang said, hopes that Afghanistan will be inclusive and prudent in governance, maintain internal stability, realize ethnic harmony, unswervingly crack down on all terrorist forces including the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, actively respond to concerns of the international community and seek greater understanding and recognition.
Muttaqi thanked China for its timely emergency assistance to Afghanistan, which was deeply moved by the urgently needed aid and friendship.
The Afghan side will continue to abide by the one-China principle and will never allow the Afghan territory to be used for anti-China activities.
He said that the Afghan government is determined to crack down on drug-related activities, attaches great importance to China's proposal on alternative planting, and looks forward to learning from China's development experience and advanced agricultural technology, so as to achieve sound development of agricultural industry and benefit the Afghan people.
Muttaqi hopes that China will give Afghanistan more support in the country's pursuit of international recognition and its efforts in improving infrastructure construction, among others.
Wang spoke highly of Afghanistan's active participation in the Foreign Ministers' Meeting on the Afghan Issue Among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan in China's Tunxi, adding that China is ready to work with various parties to make good use of the mechanism and continue to play a constructive role in Afghanistan's reconstruction and development.
Wang announced that China will resume issuing visas to Afghan citizens starting Aug. 1. ■