China ready to help Afghanistan to achieve lasting peace: Zhao Lijian

Karot hydropower project to meet Pakistan’s electricity needs, boost sustainable development: China

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BEIJING: China is ready to work with regional countries as always to strengthen communication and coordination, build consensus and forge synergy to help Afghanistan achieve lasting peace and stability, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Zhao Lijian said on Monday.

“Afghanistan is at a critical stage of turnaround from chaos to stability. Security is the prerequisite for the development,” he said during his regular briefing in response to a question regarding 4th regional security dialogue on Afghanistan held in Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan last week.

Senior representatives of Russia, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyztan and Tajikistan attended the meeting.

External Security Commissioner of Chinese Foreign Ministry, Cheng Guoping represented China at the meeting.

Cheng said Afghanistan was the heart of Asia, the development of its security situation would have major impact on regional security and stability.

The Global Security Initiative put forward by President Xi Jinping stressed the importance of upholding the new vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security and jointly upholding the world peace and security.

China was ready to honour this spirit working in concert with regional countries and support the whole system of Afghanistan while responding to challenges.

The spokesperson said that the Dushanbe statement released at the meeting welcomed the Tunxi initiative of neighbouring countries of Afghanistan on supporting economic reconstruction in practical cooperation with Afghanistan adopted at the 3rd foreign ministers meeting among the neighbouring countries of Afghanistan.

It called on all parties to provide more support for Afghanistan in economy, humanitarian assistance, connectivity, trade and internal capacity building.

The statement reiterated non-interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs and the principle of Afghan owned, Afghan led approach, urged countries bearing responsibility for Afghanistan to seriously fulfil the commitment of economic reconstruction and further development of Afghanistan.

It opposed the politicization of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and also pointed out that the international terrorist organisations should never be allowed to use the Afghan territory to hide, train, plot and sponsor any terrorist activities targeting any country in the region to make sure that Afghanistan would become hotbed, harbour and source of terrorist forces. Adding to this, the Karot hydropower project being completed under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would not only meet electricity needs of around five million local residents, further improve Pakistan’s energy structure but also boost the country’s sustainable development, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Monday.

“The Karot hydropower plant is a major energy cooperation project between China and Pakistan,” he said during his regular briefing in response to a question about Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s visit to the project last week.

PM Shehbaz Sharif also spoke to the engineers and workers of the project during the visit.

“Once all units are installed and put into operation, the project will not only generate steady and affordable energy supply, meet the electricity needs of approximately 5 million local residents and further improve Pakistan’s energy structure but also boost the country’s sustainable development,” he added.

Zhao Lijian said that the hydropower plant was expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by around 3.5 million tons per year which would make new contribution to the global response to climate change.

Invested by China Three Gorges Corporation, the Karot hydropower project in Punjab province is the fourth level of the five cascade hydropower stations planned for the Jhelum River. It will be operation soon and produce 720-megawatt off clean energy.

“We wish the project a speedy completion and construction so that it can be put into operation at an early date,” he added.

The spokesperson said that CPEC was a key pilot project under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and an important platform for all round practical cooperation between the two countries.

The CPEC was guided by the concept of green open and clean development and committed to realizing sustainable, livelihood oriented and high standard growth.

Since its launch, the CPEC has delivered fruitful outcomes in energy cooperation, which helped Pakistan to effectively tackle energy shortage and provides reliable and ample energy supply for its economic and industrial development, he added.

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