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Afghanistan to boost economic, security ties with China
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Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta on Wednesday appreciated China's assistance for his country's reconstruction and pledged to boost economic, trade and security cooperation with the neighboring state.

"Since the beginning of the new era in Afghanistan in late 2001, China has been among our most committed and generous friends," Spanta, who is in Beijing for an official visit, told a seminar on Afghanistan's role in the region.

China has been instrumental in regional consensus and international solidarity with Afghanistan, he said, noting China is also the largest investor in the war-hit country.

"There are many issues of common concerns and interests between the two countries, including combating terrorism, narcotic trafficking, regional cooperation and economic partnership," said the top Afghan diplomat at a forum hosted by the China Institute of International Studies.

China has pledged 170 million U.S. dollars worth of aid to Afghanistan since 2002, offering another 50 million yuan (about 7.35 million U.S. dollars) worth of free aid last year.

Most of China's donation, which was "very effective", was used in the rebuilding of infrastructure, Spanta said, noting such assistance "was not expensive but will benefit the government and people directly."

On the security situation, Spanta said Afghanistan is facing "a triangle of terrorism, comprising of Al-Qaeda, Taliban and external supports and sponsorship."

"The triangle presents existential threats not only to Afghanistan but also to the region and the world peace and stability," he said.

However, the country's reconstruction has witnessed progress and Afghanistan "is not in a state of crisis as has been projected by some international mass media," he said.

Afghanistan will follow the principle of multilateralization in its foreign policy, carry out anti-terrorism cooperation with all countries including the United States, but it's not in the country's interests to give permanent military base to other countries, he acknowledged.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said last week that China will continue to fulfill its commitment and provide further assistance to Afghanistan within its ability.

(Xinhua News Agency June 10, 2009)

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