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Stabilizing Afghanistan a major diplomatic challenge

By Chen Chenchen (Global Times)

09:23, September 25, 2012

Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and top Chinese security official, made a brief visit to Afghanistan Saturday.

This marked the first trip made by a senior Chinese leader to the country since 1966.

It is no surprise that there is heated analysis over this latest trip among foreign observers.

Many are speculating about the long-term ambitions of Beijing, believing that the emerging power is seeking a larger role in post-NATO Afghanistan and is looking for greater influence in Kabul as the US and NATO are scheduled to withdraw their troops by 2014.

The anxiety around China's role in this region is growing increasingly apparent as the 2014 deadline approaches.

On the one hand, the US and its allies call for China to play a bigger role and help the US-led NATO to keep regional security.

On the other hand, they worry that their influence might be replaced due to China's growing presence in this region.

Within China, there is also heated debate over the role that China should play in this neighboring war-torn country.

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