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article imageChina and Afghanistan sign security and economic agreements

By Ken Hanly     Sep 24, 2012 in Politics
Kabul - Afghanistan and China have signed a number of security and economic agreements as top Chinese official Zhou Yongkang visited Afghanistan.
Zhou Yongkang is domestic security chief. Yongkang is the most senior Chinese official to visit Afghanistan in almost fifty years. Zhou also led a crackdown on separatists in a region of China that borders on Afghanistan. The last senior Chinese official who visited Afghanistan was the then President Liu Shaogi in 1966. As NATO troops pull out and security is handed over to Afghans in 2014, Afghanistan's neighbors are all making moves to expand influence and trade.
In particular, China is interested in investing in Afghanistan's resource sector in order to provide raw materials for China's own expanding economy. However, there was also an agreement to train Afghan police an area that up to now has been dominated by NATO countries. No doubt China wants to develop relations in the area of security to help offset U.S. and other western influences.
The meeting between Yongkang and Afghan officials follows upon a meeting back in June at a regional conference in Beijing at which the two countries decided to upgrade their relationship. Zhou met in Kabul with President Karzai as well as other officials. The meeting was kept secret until after it had finished for security reasons.
China has already invested in the Afghan mining sector for several years including a copper mine in Logar an eastern province. China also received approval for exploration and development of oil resources in the Amu Darya river basin. Afghanistan is believed to have up to $1 trillion U.S in mineral resources. China has a 76 km. border with Afghanistan in the far northeast of the country.
According to a Chinese news report of Zhou's meeting he said: "It is in line with the fundamental interests of the two peoples for China and Afghanistan to strengthen a strategic and co-operative partnership ... conducive to regional peace, stability and development."
In spite of the lack of security in Afghanistan and uncertainty about the future of the Karzai government, China is nevertheless attempting to promote stronger relations with Afghanistan.
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