China backs Afghan-US security pact
BEIJING (PAN): President Hamid Karzai on Friday won China's support for strategic deals with the United States and other countries, with Beijing saying it backed the agreements for the sake of durable stability in the war-torn neighbour.
At separate meetings with Karzai at the Great Hall of the People, President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang voiced their support for the security pacts, particularly with the US. The two sides also exchanged views on the regional situation and bilateral cooperation.
Presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi told Pajhwok Afghan News that Beijing's support for training and equipping Afghan forces within the framework of a strategic agreement with China, stepping up the peace process and increased cooperation in different spheres were discussed.
Chinese entrepreneurs' investment in Afghanistan also figured at the meetings, where both sides agreed on further expanding bilateral ties in diverse fields such as trade, investment and training. Karzai praised China as an anchor of stability in the region and the world at large.
Enhanced trade links, investment and promotion of major projects on energy resources were among the topics discussed. Karzai acknowledged China's consistent assistance to Afghanistan over the past decade as useful and valuable.
The president characterised a joint campaign against terrorism and drugs as the duty of both nations, saying they should work together to deal with common challenges. Faizi said the host leaders assured Karzai of China's solid support for a comprehensive Afghan-led reconciliation drive.
"China will steadily pursue a friendly policy toward Afghanistan and deepen their strategic cooperative partnership," Li promised, saying they encouraged enterprises to invest in Afghanistan. While seeking security and protection from the Afghan side, he said China would like to provide assistance within its capacity.
Karzai and Xi presided over the signing of agreements on extradition, technical and economic cooperation, as well as education. Under one agreement, China will provide a $32 million grant to the Afghan government for 2013.
A joint statement issued after the meetings said the two sides would continue to strengthen their cooperation in the political, economic, cultural and security fields, international and regional affairs to enrich the content of the China-Afghanistan Strategic and Cooperative Partnership.
The two sides pledged to support each other on issues concerning national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, and not allow their respective territory to be used for activities against the other side.
After the conclusion of the trade, finance and agriculture training programmes, China will provide training in education and hydraulic engineering this year. It will provide facilities, including government-sponsored scholarships, to more Afghan youth to study in China.
The two sides expressed strong rejection of all forms of terrorism, extremism, separatism and organised crime. They agreed to stay committed to cooperation in the Istanbul Process with a view to building confidence at the regional level.
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