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China will support Afghan reconciliation process: Li

KABUL: Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao met with former president Hamid Karzai on Wednesday at the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing, Chinese media reports.

Li said China and Afghanistan are friendly neighbors that understand, trust and support each other.

As this year marks the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between the two countries, Li said China stands ready to work together with Afghanistan to further boost cooperation on trade, investment and security to benefit the people of the two countries.

China will continue supporting the process of reconstruction and reconciliation in Afghanistan, and helping to achieve peace, stability and development in the country at an early date, Li added.

Hailing the traditional friendship between the two nations, Karzai thanked the Chinese side for the contribution to Afghanistan’s process of peace and development, and looked forward to continued assistance from China.

Separately, spokeswoman of foreign office, Hua Chunying, said at a regularly scheduled news conference in Beijing: “I am not aware of the situation you mentioned. As a friendly neighbor of Afghanistan, China highly values developing China-Afghanistan relations and hopes that Afghanistan will achieve enduring peace, stability and development at an early date.”

Li Xin, the head of the Center for Russia and Central Asian Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, said: “China simply provided them a place to talk, in a bid to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan. It is normal, since both sides find it difficult to meet face to face in their own country. It is more convenient for them to negotiate on the territory of a third party that can mediate the disputes.”

Li added: “China still upholds its noninterference principle, but it intends to play a much bigger role in stabilizing its western border as the situation deteriorates. Military intervention is not an option for China, so it can only push for talks among all parties to realize regional peace.” (PAN)

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