ISLAMABAD - China on Sunday assured to help Pakistan and Afghanistan in countering three major threats including terrorism, extremism and narcotics, saying that mutual cooperation among the three countries will benefit the region.

Speaking at a trilateral dialogue here, Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong said that there was need of collective approach towards countering issues faced by China, Pakistan and Afghanistan, assuring that China was ready to help Pakistan and Afghanistan fight extremism, terrorism and narcotics.

The two-day trilateral dialogue was organised by Pakistan-China Institute and German political foundation, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), Pakistan. The first round of the trilateral dialogue was held in Beijing in 2013. The next conference of the third session of trilateral dialogue will be held in Afghanistan.

Sun Weidong emphasised, “Building mutual trust and friendly consultations between the two countries should be encouraged to promote cooperation,” adding that China believed that national reconciliation was inevitable for Afghanistan to achieve its objectives.

“It’s timely and important conference,” Ambassador of Afghanistan Janan Musa Musazai said while thanking Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung for organising the dialogue.

“We look forward to welcoming the next round of trilateral dialogue in Afghanistan,” Ambassador Musazai added in response to Chairman Pakistan-China Institute Senator Sayed’s earlier announcement regarding the next trilateral conference in Kabul.

Weidong said both Afghanistan and Pakistan are close neighbouring countries and are good neighbours to China.

Sartaj Aziz, adviser to prime minister on foreign affairs and national security, is expected to attend and address the concluding session of the event on Monday.

The Afghan envoy was grateful that President Mamnoon Hussain attended Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s ceremony of ascending to his office. He was also grateful to Sartaj Aziz who is currently visiting Kabul for extending invitation to Presient Ghani to visit Islamabad.

Ambassador Musazai said, “Afghanistan and Pakistan are natural friends and partners joined by inseparable bonds.” He also talked about building Peshawar-Jalalabad and Chaman-Qandhar railways lines to bring both countries further closer.

Highlighting the need to uphold the “sovereignty, integrity and security” of Afghanistan, Weidong welcomed international community to help Afghanistan improve its security situation.

China is the biggest neighbour of both Afghanistan and Pakistan, Weidong said and added, “China is devoted for the early settlement of Afghan issue. We have taken an active part.”

Giving credit to former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the envoy said Karzai government laid foundation to lasting friendship with China, which was the largest investor in Afghanistan.

Musazai said the new government in Afghanistan would further develop the three main key policy objectives that have been continuing for the last 13 years: transforming Afghanistan from a failed state to functioning democracy; broadening and strengthening relations in the region; and working with the closet neighbours in strengthening the bilateral and multilateral relations.

Earlier, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said, “Our destinies are interlinked,” adding with NATO and the United States receding in the region, “The destinies of Asia should be decided by Asians.”

Highlighting Germany’s role in developing Afghanistan, Senator Sayed said, “Germany has good vision for Asia.” He added, “In two days we will have good brainstorming and would come up with specific policy recommendations which would be doable and promote cooperation amongst the three neighbours in concrete areas.”

The session reviewing the current outlook for Afghanistan was chaired by Prof Li Xiguang, Director Pakistan Study Centre, Tsinghua University, Beijing. Presenting Afghan perspective Dr Farouq Azam, Chairman Movement for Peaceful Transformation of Afghanistan, said the new relations with China would create a new look in relations with Pakistan.

Eminent scholar and political analyst Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi observed that there was greater potential for increasing cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan. “They cannot function in isolation,” Dr Rizvi said and emphasised the need for developing economic power and societal linkages, which are very strong between both the countries.

Presenting NATO perspective, Director School of Politics & International Relations at Quaid-e-Azam University, Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, highlighted an emerging opportunity for both Afghanistan and Pakistan with reduced American presence in the region.

The session on Changing Regional Context was chaired by Ambassador Khalid Mehmood, Chairman Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad. In presentation on ‘Cooperation in Countering Terrorism,’ Amir Rana, Director Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), raised a question about the mechanism to deal with regrouping of militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan.