As a firm backer of the peace process in Afghanistan, China will offer aid within its capacity, Chinese Vice-Premier Qian Qichen told a senior Afghan diplomat in Beijing on Monday.
In a meeting with Abdullah Abdullah, foreign minister of the Transitional Islamic Government of Afghanistan who is here for a three-day official visit, Qian said China and Afghanistan were neighbors and had long established diplomatic ties. China valued its good-neighborly friendly cooperative ties with Afghanistan, hestressed.
The Chinese people were sympathetic to the difficulties the Afghan people faced after years of war and turmoil in their country, the vice-premier said. The peace, stability and development of Afghanistan was not only the common desire of the Afghan people, but would also benefit peace and stability in the region at large.
Qian pledged that the Chinese government would firmly support the peace process and offer aid to Afghanistan within its capacity.
Abdullah said he was pleased to visit China after the CommunistParty of China had convened its 16th National Congress.
As a great neighbor, China had provided Afghanistan with priceless assistance, for which the Afghan people were very grateful, the foreign minister said.
He said Afghanistan treasured its ties with China, and hoped tofurther the friendly cooperative contact between the two countries.
Afghan FM spokesman on ties with China
Afghanistan hopes China will play a bigger role in Afghanistan's reconstruction and further participate in international cooperation in promoting peace, stability and development in Afghanistan and central Asia, an Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday in Beijing.
Omar Samad, the spokesman, described the talks between Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and Chinese Foreign Minister counterpart Tang Jiaxuan in Beijing Monday as successful.
He said Abdullah had also had a very good meeting with Chinese Vice-Premier Qian Qichen on Monday afternoon.
The two sides share common positions on a wide variety of issues and are willing to expand bilateral relations at all levels,he said.
The two sides agreed to carry out regular consultations on the issue of security and to share information with regard to anti-terrorism efforts. The two sides will increase official visits by leaders and government officials, expand trade links and encourageentrepreneurs from both sides to invest and do business in each other's countries.
On China's role in Afghanistan's rehabilitation and reconstruction, the spokesman said China has been a generous donorto the reconstruction efforts of his country. The initial financial assistance package provided by China has already been disbursed. Afghanistan is actively pushing forward Chinese-funded projects including hospitals and irrigation works.
He said that on Monday, the Chinese government had announced the forgiveness of all debts owed by Afghanistan to China, estimated to be in the tens of millions of US dollars. He expressed the hope that China would continue to play an increasingly front-line, constructive and engaged role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
China has maintained a clear, realistic and constructive policyon the issue of Afghanistan over the past two decades, he said, adding that Afghanistan is very grateful.
The spokesperson called for the convening of another international meeting early next year to re-assess the real needs of Afghan reconstruction. He said Afghanistan has invited China toattend the conference, which he hopes will result in more effective and long-term planning for his country's reconstruction.