China Afghanistan’s New Hope – Bigzad Visit To China
With the recent surge in direct diplomacy and high level visits between China and Afghanistan there is an emerging hope amongst Afghans that China can be counted on as an honest partner and good neighbor.
An increased economic and security interest in China by former Afghan President Hamid Karzai during his last months in office and the current president, Ashraf Ghani, with his first foreign trip to Beijing are all indicators of a great rebalancing act by Kabul to reach out to China after decades of tepid relations. But this new hope of a partnership should go beyond diplomatic niceties and be based on a strong foundation of mutual interests.
Afghanistan needs Chinese financial, economic, and technical resources and its political leverage at the international stage whereas Afghanistan is the missing link in China’s regional diplomacy and geopolitics. As a rising power, China cannot and should not tolerate an unstable Afghanistan in its neighborhood. A troubled and unstable neighborhood infested with extremists and regional proxy terrorist groups is probably the biggest impediment to China’s rise to a peaceful and responsible power.
During my visit to China , I found China highly interested to further deepen people to people ties and met Assistant Minister Of Foreign Affairs had exchanged ideas about recent trade and mutual understanding of both countries.
I also met Secretary General China Public Diplomacy Association, China Radio International Pashto Department, Startimes Communication Network Technoligy Group, Shengyuan Carpet Group Co Ltd as well as Agriculture Factory.
Chinese business interests and products have mainly been rerouted and exported to Afghanistan via Pakistan because Afghan roadways from China cannot accommodate the demands of the mountainous border between the two countries. The Afghan business communities have a keen interest for partner with Chinese firms and factories. Chinese state-owned companies such as the China National Petroleum Corporation International and China Metallurgical Group Corporation have invested in Amu Darya oil river basin and Aynak copper mine in Afghanistan, though the experience with the two projects has not been encouraging so far. The contractual obligations have either been not met or were asked to be renegotiated.
In the long run, the benefits of Chinese engagement and influence in building a stable and peaceful Afghanistan far outweigh the costs. China can exert its diplomatic status to bring parties to the negotiating table and use its powerful economy to support mutually beneficial infrastructure development programs in Afghanistan. A stable and peaceful Afghanistan can be both a reliable trading partner with China and bring needed stability to the region. Instability in a country breeds instability in the region, and China cannot afford such a liability. China will have to engage in Afghanistan for its own national and economic security.