Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China is ready to cooperate with Central and South Asian countries to establish a closer partnership in the field of regional interconnection by achieving high-quality cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, noting that interconnection is an unremitting pursuit of human society. Since ancient times, it serves as a major driving force for development and prosperity in today’s world.
Wang noted that China is ready to work with all parties to align their infrastructure development strategies, push forward “hard interconnection” and “soft interconnection” in parallel, and build a sustainable and multidimensional interconnection network, stressing that his country opposes playing geopolitical games in the name of interconnection and ready to follow the principles of intensive consultation, joint contribution and mutual benefits to create a bright future for integrated development with all parties.
Wang added that China supports the construction of a corridor linking Central and South Asia, to help countries in the region transform from “landlocked” countries to “land-linked” countries, and jointly build a major international transport route linking Europe and Asia and linking the north with the south.
Wang pointed out that the countries of the region should adhere to openness and inclusiveness, adhere to the spirit of partnership, follow the principle of common security, and overcome obstacles to cooperation. He called on the World Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Silk Road Fund to invest in interconnection projects. Expanding diverse financing channels and attracting investments on a large scale from the private and social sectors so that these projects obtain stable, transparent and high-quality financial support.
Meanwhile, Wang said China will continue to work with the international community, especially Afghanistan’s neighboring countries, to facilitate peace talks and give full play to the role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and other mechanisms.
He called on the countries concerned to honour their commitments, fulfil their obligations and strive to prevent the deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan.
Wang made these statements at the high-level international conference entitled “Central and South Asia: Regional Interconnection, Challenges and Opportunities”, which was held on July 16, 2021, in the presence of leaders of countries including Afghanistan and Pakistan. The foreign ministers of countries including China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, India, Bangladesh, the Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Turkey, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy attended the conference, which was hosted by Uzbekistan, in person or via a video link.