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China to Provide US$150 Million in Aid to Afghanistan

On Wednesday, China provided the Afghan interim government with US$one million and 30-million yuan worth (about US$3.6 million) of emergency assistance in the form of goods.

"As a neighbor, China is ready to participate actively in Afghanistan's reconstruction," Jiang told Karzai. "To show our friendship to the Afghan people and our support to the interim government and the peace process, we have decided to offer another US$150 million in aid for the reconstruction of Afghanistan."

Jiang said the Chinese people have always been friendly to the Afghan people. The two countries have been good neighbors since they established full diplomatic relations. Late Chinese leaders, including Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai and Chen Yi, all visited Afghanistan.

China firmly supports Afghanistan's efforts to maintain independence and peace, and has provided some assistance for that end before, Jiang noted.

Jiang said the first step is always difficult. China is glad to see that the peace process in Afghanistan has had a good start. China, through its own experience over the past decades, feels that stability is of vital importance to economic construction, he said.

"We are convinced that under the leadership of the interim government, the Afghan people will be able to restore order in various fields, and start the reconstruction process very smoothly." Jiang stressed. "Everything good for reconstruction and peace in Afghanistan will have China's support."

On the fight against terrorism, Jiang said China opposes terrorism in any form and that China is also a victim of terrorism. He added that China appreciates the firm stance of the Afghan interim government against terrorism, and China is ready to work with Afghanistan and other neighboring countries to strengthen cooperation in this field.

Karzai said the friendly relations between Afghanistan and China dated back as far as the period of the Silk Road. On the second day of his visit, he said, he has felt the deep friendship of the Chinese people towards the Afghan people.

He thanked China for its assistance and promised that the Afghan interim government will do its utmost to use international assistance in a "good and effective" manner for the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan.

Karzai said the Afghan interim government and people expect more support from China.

Afghanistan has been devastated by war for years and also has been a victim of terrorism. Karzai stressed that his government will not allow new terrorism to come into being in Afghanistan, nor will it allow terrorism to harm its neighbors.

Karzai said he is glad to know that China will resume the operation of its embassy in Kabul in early February. He said he expects to keep close contact with China through the embassy.

Impressed by China's gigantic Great Wall, Afghanistan's new leader, Hamid Karzai, linked the arduous climb to his unusual task of leading a war-torn country back to normal life.

"Afghanistan's reconstruction will be easier than climbing the Great Wall," he said to stress his confidence in both his country and the one-month-old interim government.

"We have an ancient wall like this in Kabul," the 44-year-old Afghan leader said, adding, "Both Afghanistan and China have very old cultures. We had a very close friendship in the past, and we will have closer relations in the future."

Although they only share a narrow border with Afghanistan, the Chinese people had contact with the Afghan people some 2,000 years ago along the famous Silk Road. An official named Zhang Qian was sent to Karzai's homeland by the Chinese emperor at that time, and brought back grape and carrot seeds.

"There used to be a great deal of cooperation between us, and we hope China will help a lot in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, as it has already done," said Karzai.

Karzai left Beijing later in the day, ending his first visit to China.

(People’s Daily January 25, 2002)

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