Opening Ceremony of U.S.-China Joint Training Program for Afghan Diplomats

Group photoThe U.S.-China Training Program for Afghan diplomats is a four-week training program, jointly organized by the U.S. and Chinese governments since 2012, which provides opportunities for 15 entry-level Afghan diplomats to receive two weeks of training in the United States, and two weeks of training in China.  This year’s third round of the training program continues to highlights U.S.-China cooperation in promoting Afghanistan’s stability, security and prosperity.

Kaye A. Lee

Political Minister Counselor at U.S. Embassy Beijing 

Opening Ceremony of U.S.-China Joint Training Program for Afghan Diplomats

China Foreign Affairs University

Friday, May 16, 9:00 – 10:00 AM

Thank you for your introduction.  It is a privilege for me to join Deputy Director General Huang Xilian, Ambassador Farahi, and CFAU Executive Vice President Mr. Qin Yaqing in welcoming Afghanistan’s most promising rising diplomats for the third round of the U.S.-China joint training program.

The United States and China have the same goal in Afghanistan:  stability, security and prosperity for the country and its people.  As Secretary Kerry noted when he welcomed the beginning of the Afghan Presidential election process on April 5, millions of men and women in Afghanistan took to the polls with courage and commitment.  The Afghan people organized the election, secured the election, and most importantly, voted in the election.  Their vote demonstrated how committed the Afghan people are to protecting and advancing their democracy.  The fierce determination of the millions of voters undeterred by violence and threats of violence has been remarkable.  The United States remains committed to working with the next president of Afghanistan, and we will continue to stand with the people of Afghanistan as they work to build a democratic future.

We share the view that diplomacy is absolutely critical in shaping this future.  The importance of your work, as emerging leaders in this field, cannot be overstated.  As envoys from such diverse parts of Afghan society, you will soon be entrusted with the responsibility of advancing peace and stability in your country.  As you assume this role, I hope you remember this day when the United States and China stood together to invest in your future.

This program enjoys the highest level of support from both the United States and China.  And so I would like to take a moment to share a letter from Secretary of State John Kerry:

I am so pleased that this joint program to train young Afghan diplomats is now in its third year.  I would like to thank Foreign Minister Wang and his team for hosting the China portion of this year’s program.  I also extend my warm regards to our friends from the Afghan embassy and, of course, the impressive group of young Afghan diplomats here today.

The U.S-China Training Program for Afghan diplomats, an outcome of our Strategic and Economic Dialogue, has become one of the highlights of U.S.-China cooperation.  And we hope it will be a career highlight for the Afghan diplomats taking part as well.  The training and development of young diplomats is more important than ever as Afghanistan takes important steps forward in its transition and prepares for new leadership.

This group represents the next generation of Afghan leaders.  I am sure that you will have a rewarding program during your time in China and will benefit from the expertise of our Chinese friends.  The United States looks forward to welcoming you for the U.S. portion of the training program in Washington later this fall.

We also hope to identify other opportunities where the United States and China can support capacity-building in areas that benefit Afghans in their daily lives, perhaps in the public health sector, for example.  Such cooperation among our three countries reflects our shared interest in supporting a stable, peaceful future for Afghanistan.

The upcoming Heart of Asia ministerial in Tianjin will be one of the most important international engagements on Afghanistan this year.  The United States is pleased to be a supporter country to the Heart of Asia members, and we welcome this regionally-led effort to promote regional stability and economic growth.  I am sure some of the young Afghan diplomats here today will be involved in the ministerial preparations, which makes this training particularly timely.  I wish you a successful program in Beijing as well as a productive ministerial in Tianjin.

We’ll see you in Washington!

Sincerely,

John F. Kerry

To reiterate Secretary Kerry’s words:  the United States and China are invested in you, your country, and the future you seek to build.  As we look forward to China’s hosting of the upcoming Heart of Asia Ministerial in Tianjin, we hope that the support of both Afghanistan’s international and regional partners, in particular, the United States and China, will assist the country and the people of Afghanistan in building a bright and prosperous future.  I hope that your participation in this training program will also contribute to cooperation among our three countries.   I look forward to continuing our work together in the years to come.
Thank you.