International

China chairs meet with Afghan, Pak., Nepal Foreign Ministers

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi  

China on Monday convened a rare quadrilateral dialogue with the Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan, Nepal and Pakistan, pledging to strengthen cooperation among the four nations in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic as well as boosting their economic recoveries, including through regional connectivity projects.

China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi outlined four proposals at the meet, including for the four countries to cooperate under China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

He proposed extending the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan, as well as taking forward an economic corridor plan with Nepal, called the Trans-Himalayan Multi-dimensional Connectivity Network.

The video-conference was chaired by Mr. Wang, and attended by Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar, Nepal Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and Pakistan’s Economic Affairs Minister Makhdum Khusro Bakhtiar, according to a statement from China’s Foreign Ministry.

Four-way ties

Mr. Wang told the conference the four countries were “connected by mountains and rivers”, and offered four proposals to strengthen four-way ties.

The first, he said, was to share consensus in fighting the pandemic as “good neighbours”. He hit out at countries that had “politicised” the pandemic and “undermined cooperation for their own political needs”, saying they would be “nailed to history’s pillar of shame forever”.

He also called on the countries to learn from China and Pakistan’s joint prevention and control model, and suggested the four countries could look at opening up “green channels” as soon as possible.

China has also offered its expertise in fighting COVID-19 and said vaccines that are being developed would be shared with the three countries. Mr. Wang called on the group to continue cooperating under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.

He said China would take forward the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the Trans-Himalayan Multi-dimensional Connectivity Network project with Nepal, and supported extending the corridor to Afghanistan.

The four countries pledged their support to the ongoing peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, the statement from Beijing said.

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 7:31:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/china-chairs-meet-with-afghan-pak-nepal-foreign-ministers/article32206906.ece

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