Beijing hopes to make Afghans and Pakistanis stakeholders in regional projects and thereby generate traction to its peace initiative.
After a meeting in Beijing on Tuesday of the China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Dialogue, a newly created trilateral format, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made a major announcement that Beijing and Islamabad will look at extending the US$57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan.
The joint press release after the meet said the three countries “reaffirmed their commitment to improving their relations, deepening mutually beneficial cooperation, advancing connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative.”
Wang was forthright later at a press conference: “China and Pakistan are willing to look at with Afghanistan, on the basis of win-win, mutually beneficial principles, using an appropriate means to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan.”
Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif chose his words carefully, saying Pakistan and China are “iron brothers” and the successful implementation of the CPEC “will serve as a model for enhancing connectivity and cooperation through similar projects with neighboring countries…
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