China and Afghanistan should unswervingly combat terrorism and safeguard security of the two countries and the region, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a telephone conversation with his counterpart of Afghanistan, Mohammed Haneef Atmar, on Wednesday.

At present, Wang said, the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan has entered a critical period, which bears on the future and destiny of Afghanistan. As Afghanistan’s most trustworthy neighbor, China is more eager than any other country to see peace, stability, reconstruction and development in Afghanistan, he said.

Intra-Afghan negotiation is a key step to achieve peace and reconciliation, and all parties in Afghanistan should bear in mind the long-term interests of the country, meet each other halfway and properly handle differences at this important historical moment, Wang said, adding that this process should be based on the premise of maintaining peace and stability in Afghanistan, instead of allowing the recurrence of civil strife or even civil war, or allowing terrorist forces to take the opportunity to re-emerge and jeopardize regional security.

To push forward the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, Wang noted, the country should stick to the Afghan-led approach and let the Afghan people decide on their own the future of the country.

Afghanistan should keep the peace as a priority and adhere to the general direction of political settlement during the process, Wang said, adding that the country should also uphold broad inclusiveness, ensure stability and unity in Afghanistan in the future, and pursue the foreign policy of peace and friendship.

Noting that the terrorist force of East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is the common enemy of China and Afghanistan, Wang said both sides should unswervingly combat terrorism and safeguard security of the two countries and the region. China will continue to play an active role in mediating the realization of intra-Afghan dialogue, he added.

China and Afghanistan enjoy a tradition of friendship, and as this year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties, China is ready to pass on such friendship and promote bilateral cooperation, especially in the current priority of anti-pandemic cooperation, Wang said.

Noting that the two countries have established a joint prevention and control mechanism and reached multiple consensuses on fighting the disease, Wang said China will keep supporting Afghanistan in its battle against the virus.

He added that China is willing to enhance cooperation with Afghanistan within the framework of the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), and make the best of sub-regional cooperative mechanisms such as the China-Afghanistan-Pakistan trilateral cooperation and the China + Central Asia foreign ministers’ meeting as well as give full play to Afghanistan’s unique geographical advantages, so as to enhance interconnectivity, boost Afghanistan’s socio-economic development and improve the well-being of its people.

For his part, Atmar thanked China for its unswerving support for the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, and said he totally agrees with Wang’s opinions and suggestions.

The future of Afghanistan rests with the Afghan people, Atmar said, adding foreign forces should respect the country’s sovereignty and not interfere in its internal affairs.

Calling the terrorist force of ETIM the common enemy of both sides, he said Afghanistan is willing to deepen counter-terrorism cooperation with China and crack down on terrorism.

Afghanistan hopes to enhance cooperation with China on economy, trade and investment, and promote interconnectivity with China, Pakistan and Central Asian countries in such areas as energy, railway and electricity within the framework of the BRI, he added.