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China pledges assistance to Afghanistan

2014-10-29 09:24 Xinhua Web Editor: Gu Liping

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday held talks with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, reaffirming China's support for peaceful reconstruction in the country and pledging further assistance.

"China will enhance its support for Afghanistan's peaceful reconstruction, help Afghanistan frame a plan on national economic and social development, train professionals and develop agriculture,hydroelectricity and infrastructure construction," Xi told Ghani.

China would like to bolster tangible progress on major projects like the Aynak copper mine and the Amu Darya basin oil project to help Afghanistan develop its economy and improve the lives of the Afghan people, he said.

The Aynak copper mine, 35 km south of Kabul, is one of the largest copper deposits in the world with estimated 11 million tonnes of the metal. The Amu Darya basin oil project in northern Afghanistan, may contain more than 80 million barrels of crude oil.

According to the joint statement on strategic and cooperative partnership issued after the talks, China will provide 500 million yuan (81.8 million U.S. dollars) in grant assistance to the Afghan government for 2014 and a further 1.5 billion yuan in the next three years (2015-2017).

China will train 3,000 Afghan professionals in various fields over the next five years, the statement said.

Ghani, who is paying his first foreign visit after taking office last month, said Afghanistan views China as a reliable strategic partner and admires China's stability and development. Afghanistan believes that China can help it speed up its development and is ready for a long-term strategic cooperative partnership with China on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, Ghani said.

Ghani was sworn in as the new president of Afghanistan on Sept. 29, replacing Hamid Karzai in the first-ever peaceful transition of power in the history of the country. He is paying the state visit from Tuesday to Friday at the invitation of Xi.

During his stay in Beijing, Ghani will attend the fourth ministerial meeting of the Heart of Asia/Istanbul Process, on Friday.

The Heart of Asia Process, launched in November 2011, aims to raise regional cooperation for security and development in Afghanistan and its near and extended neighbors. Ghani and Premier Li Keqiang are expected to address Friday's meeting.

China backs Afghanistan's push for national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the "Afghan led, Afghan owned" peace and reconciliation process, said the Chinese president.

Xi said that peace and stability in Afghanistan are in the fundamental interests of the Afghan people, and represent the shared aspirations of the international community.

Xi proposed the two sides promote exchanges and cooperation between the governments, legislative bodies and political parties and step up communication on important issues.

Ghani expressed Afghanistan's willingness to cooperate with China in areas like oil, mining and infrastructure, adding that Afghanistan welcomes Chinese investment and will try to ensure the safety of Chinese institutions and personnel.

Afghanistan firmly supports China's fight against terrorism and will not allow the Afghan territory to be used for any activity targeted on China, said the visiting president.

Ghani welcomed China's initiative of the Silk Road economic belt, which is important for cooperation between the two as well as regional connectivity. Ghani pledged that Afghanistan, part of the ancient Silk Road, would work closely with China on the plan.

During the talks, the two sides agreed to strengthen coordination within international and regional institutions.

As next year marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Afghanistan, the two sides agreed to hold a series of commemorative activities, enhancing understanding and friendship between the two peoples.

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