At a time when some world powers are pursuing policies of regime change, sanctions and use of military force to dictate to nations and advance their designs in different regions of the globe, China has achieved distinction and earned appreciation of the world community by strictly adhering to its avowed policy of noninterference in the internal affairs of other countries. It opts instead for cooperative partnership for economic development and shared prosperity.
This clear-cut strategy of the Chinese leadership was again highlighted at the recent Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Kyrgyzstan and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia in Tajikistan, particularly regarding Afghanistan.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Afghan independence from British rule. While extending his congratulations to Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani during the SCO summit, President Xi Jinping wished the country an early restoration of peace, stability and development.
Xi expressed serious concern over the sufferings of Afghan people from poverty and constant conflicts and declared that China firmly supports the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process, an approach that Pakistan has long been advocating at different platforms.
Pakistan has always been concerned with Afghan peace and development. China is contributing to regional and global peace through its highly praiseworthy diplomacy aimed at noninterference in the internal affairs of other countries and peaceful resolution of conflicts around the world.
In addition, China and Pakistan are making full use of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group, stepping up cooperation in various fields and playing a constructive role in the early realization of peace, reconciliation, stability and development in Afghanistan.
Xi said China will continue to do what it can to help with Afghanistan's peace and reconstruction. China has opposed the use of force and supported politically negotiated settlement of the Afghan issue. It is participating effectively in regional and global initiatives aimed at restoration of peace in the war-ravaged country.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations with Kabul in 1950, China has focused on economic engagement. China's Afghanistan policy is characterized by a treaty of friendship and nonaggression signed by the two countries in 1960 and reaffirmed in 2006.
China is considered to be a credible and honest broker of peace in Afghanistan, since it has the respect and confidence of all sections of society in that country.
During his meeting with Ghani, Xi said China supports the improvement of relations and enhancement of mutual trust between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and is ready to further promote China-Afghanistan-Pakistan trilateral cooperation. China is willing to deepen the mutually beneficial cooperation with Afghanistan in various sectors within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, Xi said.
China is the biggest foreign investor in Afghanistan, and restoration of peace would extend the fruits of the BRI, such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a regional extension of the BRI, to Afghanistan, thereby enabling the country to come out of the vicious cycle of poverty, backwardness and violence.
Pakistan, on the other hand, has been strengthening border management measures and fencing its borders with Afghanistan and Iran to blunt criticism that the open borders are being used for crossborder terrorism.
CPEC-funded projects have made it possible to generate cheaper electricity, a development that will accelerate the pace of progress in the country. CPEC projects are creating new job opportunities in addition to economic activities in different parts of Pakistan. Afghanistan can also enjoy such fruits of cooperation in economy and trade.
Through the BRI, China is making sincere, genuine and practical efforts to share its progress and prosperity with other countries of the world, including Pakistan and Afghanistan. China is investing a huge amount of resources in BRI projects designed to help participating countries resolve problems in the realm of infrastructure development, socioeconomic progress and unemployment. In return, it is seeking nothing except goodwill and friendship.
This is in sharp contrast to the use of coercive means by some countries on the pretext of safeguarding national interests at the cost of the sovereignty of other countries, especially the smaller ones.
As Xi said, building a safe and prosperous Asia is a shared aspiration of Asian countries, and development is the key to all problems. It is hoped the example set by China to promote regional and global peace will be emulated by others as well.
The author is executive editor of the Pakistan Observer. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.