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China role important in Afghanistan reconstruction: U.S. envoy

(Xinhua)

08:16, July 13, 2012

BEIJING, July 12 (Xinhua) -- China is playing a very important role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, a U.S. envoy said Thursday.

"China has given development assistance to Afghanistan to increase the capacity of the government and the people of the Afghanistan," said Marc Grossman, U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Grossman arrived in Beijing Wednesday evening "to continue the close consultation that China and the United States have on Afghanistan" after his trips to Tokyo and Seoul.

In Tokyo, Grossman attended on July 8 an international conference on Afghanistan, on which the international community pledged 16 billion U.S. dollars in economic assistance to Afghanistan for the next four years.

"I think that the Tokyo conference shows that the international community, very much including China, intends to stay interested in Afghanistan and support Afghanistan (even after 2014)," Grossman said, adding that Afghanistan will not be abandoned "and that is something very much to our own benefit."

Grossman said Chinese investment in Afghanistan will not only bring jobs, but also a "connection to the future" for Afghans.

The diplomat said China and the United States are pursuing several joint projects in Afghanistan.

"We are jointly training some Afghan diplomats," he said, adding that "there are some projects in the health field and in the agriculture field that we'd like to pursue."

Regarding the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) offer in June to grant Afghanistan observer status, Grossman said it is "excellent" that Afghanistan can be connected to the SCO as part of regional integration.

"A secure, stable and peaceful Afghanistan inside of a secure, stable and peaceful region is in the mutual benefit of China and the United States of America," Grossman said.

"I find that in Afghanistan in particular, Chinese interests and the U.S. interests are very much based on mutual benefit," he added.

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