China, Afghanistan seal new security deal

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Chinese President Xi Jinping (L, front) and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai inspect the guard of honor during a welcoming ceremony before their talks in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 28, 2014. [Xinhua/Ding Lin]

China and Afghanistan reached a "new important consensus" on Tuesday on combating the East Turkistan Islamic Movement as Afghanistan's new president arrived in Beijing for his first state visit since being sworn in.

Beijing also vowed to strengthen its support for reconstruction in Afghanistan, pledging assistance of 2 billion yuan ($327 million) from 2014 to 2017. It will also train 3,000 professionals in various fields for Kabul.

"President Ghani said that the new Afghan government will firmly support China to fight the ETIM," said Kong Xuanyou, director general of the Department of Asian Affairs at the Foreign Ministry.

Kong was speaking after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's meeting with President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People.

"The two sides reached a new important consensus on joint efforts in that regard," Kong said. He did not disclose details.

Ghani arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for a four-day visit. He was sworn in as Afghan president on September 29, replacing Hamid Karzai and marking the first peaceful transition of power in the war-torn country.

"Afghanistan will not allow any activities that threaten China's (security) on Afghan territory," Ghani said during the meeting with Xi, according to a media release.

China and Afghanistan share a border of just 76 km. Support from outside of China has been behind a spate of attacks in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and other locations, which have left hundreds dead over the past two years. Some terrorists are based on the Afghan-Pakistani border.

Xi vowed strong support for the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan "led by the Afghan people", aside from reconstruction efforts. Most US and NATO combat troops will pull back from Afghanistan by the end of this year.

Ghani said before leaving for Beijing, "We face common threats and this leads us to cooperate on peace and security."

Xu Tao, a researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said security in Afghanistan has great significance for the situation in China and the whole of Central Asia.

Rustam Shah Mohmand, former Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan told Xinhua News Agency that China can play a key role in Afghanistan's peace process due to its friendly relations with Pakistan and Iran, the major players in Afghanistan.

Ghani will also meet with Premier Li Keqiang and top legislator Zhang Dejiang during his stay and attend the Fourth Foreign Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan on Friday.

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