|Chinese President Xi Jinping(L) holds a welcoming ceremony for the visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 27, 2013. Xi Jinping held talks with Hamid Karzai in Beijing Friday. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)|
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday held talks with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai and reaffirmed China's support for the peaceful reconstruction process in Afghanistan.
"The Chinese side firmly sticks to the Afghanistan-friendly policy, and stands ready to deepen the strategic and cooperative partnership with the Afghan side to benefit the people of the two countries and make contributions to promoting peace, stability and development in Afghanistan as well as the whole region," Xi told the visiting Afghan president at the Great Hall of the People.
Karzai is making a state visit to China from Wednesday to Saturday.
During his visit, the Afghan president had separate meetings with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Vice Premier Wang Yang. On Thursday, Karzai attended the opening ceremony of the 2013 Euro-Asia Economic Forum in China's northwest city of Xi'an.
During Friday's talks, Xi said the China-Afghanistan relationship entered a new phase when the two countries issued a joint declaration on establishing the strategic and cooperative partnership in June last year.
On Friday, China and Afghanistan issued a joint statement on further deepening the partnership.
"The two sides will continue to strengthen their cooperation in the political, economic, cultural and security fields, and international and regional affairs, i.e. the five pillars of bilateral cooperation, so as to enrich the content of the China-Afghanistan Strategic and Cooperative Partnership," according to the statement.
The two sides undertook to firmly support each other on issues concerning national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, and not allow their respective territory to be used for any activities targeted against the other side, says the statement.
According to the document, the two sides agreed to strengthen practical cooperation in such fields as resources and energy development, infrastructure development, and agriculture.
The Chinese side would continue to encourage capable Chinese enterprises to participate in the construction and development of Afghanistan, it says.
"(China) will as always provide assistance to Afghanistan within the realm of its capabilities," says the statement.
As agreed, China will provide a 200 million RMB (some 32 million U.S. dollars) grant to the Afghanistan government for 2013. Besides, the two sides signed an agreement on economic and technical cooperation during Karzai's Beijing visit.
China will, following the conclusion of the training programs in trade, finance and agriculture, provide training in education and hydraulic engineering this year, and will provide facilities, including government-sponsored scholarships, to more Afghan youths to study in China, support Chinese language education in Afghanistan and encourage exchanges between universities of the two countries, says the document.
In the joint statement, the two sides expressed strong rejection of all forms of terrorism, extremism, separatism and organized crime.
The two sides agreed to sign a treaty on extradition, and intensify exchanges and cooperation in the security field by way of jointly combating transnational threats including illegal immigration, and trafficking in persons, arms or drugs, among others.
The two sides agreed to stay committed to cooperation in the Istanbul Process with a view to building confidence at the regional level and enhancing peace, stability and development in Afghanistan and the whole region.
On Nov. 2, 2011, at an Istanbul conference on Afghanistan, China, Russia, Afghanistan and Central Asian countries adopted a declaration on regional security and cooperation for a secure and stable Afghanistan, initiating the process.
Xi also told Karzai that the Chinese side has decided to hold the fourth Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan in 2014.
During Karzai's visit, China and Afghanistan also called for a stronger role for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan and welcomed Afghanistan's greater participation in the SCO as an observer.
Xi said 2014 will be a key year for Afghanistan's transition, adding that the Chinese side will back the Afghan people's own choice of development path as well as their efforts to improve ties with other countries in the region.
Xi said the Chinese side hoped next year's presidential election would go smoothly in Afghanistan and supports the Afghan-led, Afghan-owned reconciliation process.
"The sides concerned should completely fulfill their commitment to Afghanistan's peaceful reconstruction and respect the legitimate concerns of the countries in the region on relevant issues," said the Chinese president.
Calling China as a friendly neighbor and reliable friend, Karzai thanked the Chinese side for their understanding, respect and support for the Afghan side.
Karzai said there is still a lot of work to do for the Afghan side to combat terrorism as well as to promote economic and social development, in spite of the country's progress in peaceful reconstruction.
The Afghanistan hopes China will continue to play a constructive role in Afghanistan's push to realize peace, security and stability as well as to improve ties with neighboring countries, Karzai said.
Afghanistan welcomes Chinese enterprises' participation in Afghanistan's resource and energy development and help for the Afghan side in building to improve the economy and the people's living conditions in the southwest Asian country.