Afghanistan to be regional trade hub: Ghani
Delivering a speech on integration of Asia at Xinhua University in Beijing and the importance of reviving the Silk Road, Ahmadzai said the Sino-Afghan-relationship in economic and infrastructure development had been of enormous importance.
A statement from the Presidential Palace in Kabul quoted him as calling China Afghanistan’s strategic partner. He said his country desired increased strategic ties with its neighbour.
He added China and India would be the world’s leading economic powers in the coming 40 to 50 years and Afghanistan would serve as a bridge between South and Central Asia in the region’s economic prosperity.
The president said China would be needing raw materials in future such as iron ore, copper, coal and others and Afghanistan could meet these needs though reconstruction of the ancient Silk Road --- once a main highway for Asian trade from China through Central and South Asia into the Middle East and Mediterranean region.
He said Afghanistan mineral resources needed to be exploited, adding his country had huge water resources which could be utilised for energy generation and developing the country’s agriculture sector.
The president said Afghanistan had the potential to generate and export electricity to other Asian countries.
After his speech, Ahmadzai also answered questions from Chinese and Afghan students.
Chinese media reported on Wednesday that Premier Li Keqiang met the visiting Afghan leader and his delegtion Wednesday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
The PM said China was willing to participate in Afghanistan's infrastructure construction and building its infrastructure including railway, road, water conservation, and electricity.
He said China was ready to work with Afghanistan and the international community to promote Afghanistan's economic development and stability and to maintain regional peace and stability, which he called as conducive to bilateral ties and cooperation.
Ghani welcomed more Chinese companies to join in Afghanistan's peaceful reconstruction and vowed to provide security assurance and facility to this end.
On Friday, Li and Ghani will address the Fourth Foreign Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan. The meeting also attracts foreign ministers or representatives from 14 member countries of the process, 16 other nations, 12 supporting international and regional organisations, and four countries and organizations with chairmanship.
Ghani thanked China for hosting the meeting. He said it was a consensus of all parties in Afghanistan as well as a core principle of Afghanistan's foreign policy to further deepen the strategic partnership of cooperation with China.
He pledged that Afghanistan would actively participate in the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt, which was in the interest of regional countries' long-term development.
Afghanistan would expand cooperation and support other South Asian nations to strengthen cooperation with China, said the Afghan leader, who held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and top legislator Zhang Dejiang a day earlier.
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