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Xi meets Karzai in Sochi
Publication Date : 09-02-2014
China is willing to offer continued assistance for Afghanistan's peaceful reconstruction, especially in personnel training, and will encourage Chinese companies to invest in Afghanistan, President Xi Jinping said on Friday.
Xi also urged Kabul to create a safe environment for bilateral cooperation.
The Chinese leader made the remarks in Sochi while meeting his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai. The two heads of state were in the Russian resort city for the opening ceremony of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games.
Xi said China attaches great importance to its relations with Afghanistan and stands ready to maintain high-level exchanges and promote communication and cooperation between the two countries to enhance bilateral ties.
China is ready to strengthen cooperation with Afghanistan in fighting the "three evil forces" of separatism, extremism and terrorism, as well as transnational crime, Xi added.
China, he stressed, will unswervingly support Afghanistan's efforts in safeguarding national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and back an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned national reconciliation process.
Noting that 2014 is a critical year in Afghanistan's transition, Xi conveyed hope that the country will hold smooth presidential elections, achieve a stable transition and realise lasting stability and prosperity.
Afghanistan's fate will be more closely linked with that of the region after 2014, and China supports Afghanistan's integration into regional economic cooperation, Xi said.
As China will host the fourth ministerial meeting of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan, Beijing is ready to closely cooperate with Kabul to guarantee the event's success, he said, adding that China is also ready to push the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to play a bigger role in Afghanistan.
Karzai said his state visit to China in September not only deepened his understanding of the country but also strengthened mutual trust and bilateral cooperation.
Thanking China for its understanding of and support for Afghanistan, Karzai said he is confident the new Afghan president and government, which will be elected in a few months, will continue to value friendly relations with China.
Karzai said the government remains committed to pushing forward national reconciliation and reconstruction and realising stability and peace in the country. He added that Afghanistan will also maintain friendly relations with its neighbours and endeavour to safeguard regional peace and stability.
Fu Xiaoqiang, director of the Center for Counter-terrorism Studies under the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said Afghanistan's stability and development definitely influence western China.
"After the United States withdraws all of its troops from Afghanistan, the region could possibly turn into the staging area for international terrorism forces - particularly, becoming a platform for the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which threatens the security of China's western region," Fu said.
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences international relations professor Ye Hailin said China's support of Afghanistan has diversified since the two countries established the China-Afghanistan Strategic and Cooperative Partnership in June 2012.
"China's support used to focus on economic cooperation, such as financial aid or investments in major projects," Ye said.
"But in recent years China has started providing assistance in more areas, such as training Afghan officials to improve their administrative efficiency."
Cooperation between the two countries focuses on economic development and safety, which meets the strategic partnership's requirements, he added.
China will host the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan meeting later this year. This shows the country's support for Afghanistan is expanding from bilateral ties into multilateral measures, Ye added.
With a report from Xinhua.