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New Afghanistan president to make first visit to China

2014-10-23 08:41 Global Times Web Editor: Qian Ruisha

Afghanistan's new president Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai will visit China next week, his first official foreign trip since taking office in September, China's foreign ministry confirmed Wednesday.

"We hope that the visit will help deepen tangible cooperation between China and Afghanistan, and show China's support of Afghanistan's steady transition and peaceful reconstruction so as to forge ahead the bilateral strategic partnership of cooperation," said Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The visit is set to take place from October 28 to 31, Reuters reported.

"The fragile Afghan government aims to seek firm support from China to help [stabilize the country] against the backdrop of NATO's withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, since China, its neighboring country, has kept a good relationship with Afghanistan and already invested in certain areas in the country," Li Weijian, director for the Institute of Foreign Policy Studies under the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, told the Global Times.

It is also necessary for China to help the smooth transition of Afghanistan after the withdrawal, because instability could pose a threat to China, Li noted.

China has had and will continue cooperation with the Afghan government to help its economic recovery and the governance of the country, Li said.

Separately, the China Metallurgical Group Corporation and the Jiangxi Copper Corporation reached an agreement with the Afghan government in 2008 to develop the Aynak copper mine. The investment is projected to be $4.2 billion.

"No matter how close the bilateral ties are, China will mainly promote economic development in the county and is unlikely to give military support like the US and its NATO allies," Xiao Xian, a professor from the Institute of International Studies at Yunnan University, told the Global Times.

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