Karzai begins key visit to China to boost economic cooperation | world | Hindustan Times
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Karzai begins key visit to China to boost economic cooperation

world Updated: Mar 23, 2010 20:34 IST

Afghan President Hamid Karzai begins a crucial visit to China today as he seeks to boost economic cooperation with the Communist nation in a bid to step up reconstruction process in his war-ravaged country.

China said it attaches "great emphasis" to the three-day visit of Karzai and hopes to sign a number of agreements on trade and economic cooperation.

"China lays great emphasis on good neighbourly relations and friendship with Afghanistan. China would like to see a peaceful, stable and a developing Afghanistan," Qin Gang, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, told a media briefing here today.

Karzai will hold talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao tomorrow and Premier Wen Jiabao on Thursday.

Qin said as a neighbour, "we understand the challenges that Afghanistan faces and we are very concerned about it".

A series of agreements including economic deals are to be signed, the spokesman said, without revealing any details.

"The two sides will also discuss international and regional issues of common interest. The two sides will also sign a series of cooperative agreements in trade and economy," he said.

"As a neighbour and a good friend, we will take part in the peaceful reconstruction process of Afghanistan and provide assistance within our capacity," he said.

China and Afghanistan will exchange views on deepening friendship, expanding our cooperation in trade and other areas.

Karzai's visit, the first to China since his re-election last year, is seen as significant as Beijing is viewed by analysts as a key player in maintaining stability in Afghanistan, particularly when American troops pull out of the restive nation.