A team of six Chinese diplomats will leave on Friday for Afghanistan's war ravaged capital of Kabul to prepare for the possible reopening of its embassy there for the first time since 1993.
Headed by a Foreign Ministry official Zhang Min, the team will inspect the conditions of the embassy building in Kabul and contact relevant sides.
China abandoned its diplomatic mission in Kabul in 1993, the year after the government was ousted by the muslim guerilla and began fighting among themselves for control of the city, Mr Zhang Min told reporters from Beijing Youth Daily.
Zhang said relative calm has begun to return to part of Afghanistan, although he was "not sure what will happen on them".
"It will not be as dangerous as before, but we must prepare for the rifle grenade and robbery which may happen at any time," Zhang said.
The timing of resuming the embassy will be decided after the inspection. It depends on when peace accord can be achieved and when the new government of Afghanistan can take over the power, according to Zhang.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue told a news conference earlier this week: "The Chinese Foreign Ministry is actively considering resuming work at the Chinese Embassy in Afghanistan at the appropriate time,"
Other countries have sent similar missions to Kabul. US Marines entered their embassy on Monday for the first time in over a decade, along with a State Department assessment team.
(China Daily December 13, 2001)