Peace in Afghanistan means peace in China: envoy
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): On his maiden visit to southern Kandahar province, China’s ambassador Deng Xijun on Sunday said peace in Afghanistan meant peace in China and that was why his country remained committing to assisting Kabul in its efforts to achieve peace and stability.
Deng Xijun, who arrived in Kandahar City, held talks at the governor’s house with Governor Dr. Humayun Azizi, Wolesi Jirga member Hamidzai Lalai, provincial council members, local businessmen and others.
Governor Azizi, talking about relations between Afghanistan and China, said the two countries enjoyed historic friendly relations.
He said China being a developed country had achieved a respectable place among the comity of nations and Afghanistan could benefit from China’s technology and other experiences as its neighbour.
He said Kandahar businessmen had focused their 80 percent of trade activities in China and made a strong appeal to Beijing to open a consulate in Kandahar in order to further cement ties between the two nations.
The governor said Kandahar’s economy relied on electricity and there existed vast potential of solar energy in which China could provide assistance.
Azizi urged China to increase its assistance for Kandahar and provide scholarships to Kandahar students for higher education in China.
Speaking on behalf of traders, Younas Momand said the value of imports from China to Afghanistan recently surged to $2 billion and the value of exports from Afghanistan to China stood at $1 million.
He said there were nearly 200 traders in Kandahar and there was a great need of a Chinese consulate in Kandahar. To boost Afghanistan exports to China, he said, an Afghan trader delegation should be allowed to travel to China and Chinese investors should visit Kandahar to assess investment opportunities here.
He said Chinese investors could make joint investments with Afghan traders in areas of energy, cement production and others
Kandahar public health director Dr. Abdul Qayum Pukhla said China had built the Mirwais hospital in Kandahar province about 50 years ago. The hospital, known as China hospital, now treated patients on the southern region zone while it had been established on local level.
He said tools and equipment, which had been provided by China at the time of the hospital’s establishment, were still used.
He said China should provide latest equipment to the hospital because it was Afghanistan’s right as being China’s neighbour.
Pukhla urged China to train Afghan doctors, provide ambulances to Afghan hospitals and other assistance and called for the Mirwais hospital to be connected with a Chinese hospital through the internet in order Afghan doctors could benefit from the experience of their Chinese counterparts.
Deng Xijun said it was his first visit to Kandahar and regretted not visiting Kandahar by the Chinese during the past 15 years.
He said his visit was aimed at meeting provincial officials and tribal elders and obtaining information about the security and economic situation of the province and paving the way for Chinese assistance in various sectors.
He said he would stay in Kandahar for two days during which he would meet traders, tribal elders and officials to discuss with them different issues.
Deng Xijun, who carefully listened to the demands from officials and traders, said he would try to meet them. “China and Afghanistan are close friends and peace and stability in Afghanistan means peace and stability in China, therefore China supports the Afghan government in its bid to achieve peace and stability,” he said.
He said China could be affected by violence and instability in Afghanistan because future of the two countries was inter-linked. He said China and Afghanistan had 2,000 years old relations, but formal relations were 60 years old.
He said China would give Afghanistan in aid two billion Chinese yuans until 2017 and would train up to 3,000 Afghans in skills Afghanistan needed. He also said China would provide 500 scholarships to Afghan students for higher studies each year.
Last week, the ambassador said his country assisted the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture with 300 tractors and other agricultural machines and such assistance would continue.
He urged the Afghan youth to learn Chinese language in order to further strengthen relations between the two countries. The envoy will be in Kandahar tomorrow and will be meeting traders and government officials.
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