A team of Chinese diplomats has arrived in Kabul on Wednesday to meet officials of the transitional Afghan government and try to reopen their embassy for the first time since 1993.
"We are planning to inspect our embassy buildings and try to resume our diplomatic mission," senior Foreign Ministry official Zhang Min said.
"We will also hold a flag raising ceremony," he added.
The diplomats would attend a ceremony on December 22 at which Afghanistan's interim government takes power.
China pulled its diplomats out of Kabul in 1993, the year after Afghan mujahideen groups ousted the government and began fighting among themselves for control of the city.
Relative calm has begun to return to parts of Afghanistan following the disintegration under weeks of US-led air strikes of the Taliban, who drove the mujahideen out of Kabul in 1996.
Washington went to war to avenge the September 11 suicide attacks on the United States and root out key suspect Osama bin Laden and his Taliban protectors.
Other countries have been rushing to restore a diplomatic presence in Kabul, including the United States which reopened its embassy on Monday.
Britain, France, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Russia and Turkey are among nations which have either sent diplomats or are preparing to return and forge links with the interim administration agreed at UN-sponsored talks in Germany.
(China Daily December 19, 2001)