China pledges $75 million in Afghan aid over 5 years

China pledges $75 million in Afghan aid over 5 years
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First Published: Wed, Apr 01 2009. 10 55 AM IST
Updated: Wed, Apr 01 2009. 10 55 AM IST
Beijing: China pledged $75 million in aid to Afghanistan over the next five years at an international conference in the Hague, the Xinhua news agency reported late on Tuesday.
China, which has a short, mountainous border with Afghanistan, worries that fighters trained in wars there could contribute to instability in its own far western region of Xinjiang, home to the Turkic-speaking, Muslim Uighurs.
“The Chinese side strongly supports the endeavor to combat terrorism in all manifestations,” deputy foreign minister Wu Dawei said.
“At the same time, we maintain that counter-terrorism efforts should be made to address both the symptoms and the root causes, and particularly to avoid civilian casualties. Efforts should be made to eliminate the hotbed of terrorism through peaceful development.”
China will continue to provide assistance in areas like capacity building at the request of the Afghan government and will continue to encourage Chinese enterprises to take part in Afghan reconstruction, Wu said.
China’s largest copper producer, Jiangxi Copper, is developing the Aynak copper mine in Afghanistan.
The United States is hoping for Chinese support in improving access to Afghanistan, after neighboring Kyrgyzstan announced it would close the last remaining air base operated by the US in Central Asia.
Wu said China hopes that the Afghan government and army could assume, at an early date, the responsibility of maintaining their own national security and stability.
Wu called for the United Nations to continue to play a leading role in coordinating international assistance efforts for Afghanistan.
China also favors an active role for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a grouping of Central Asian States that it founded, in Afghanistan, he said.
Ensuring smooth elections on 20 August is an important task facing Afghanistan, Wu said, calling it a key precondition to political stability and peaceful reconstruction of the country.
“We call on the international community to provide financial and security assistance and create favorable conditions for steady and smooth elections,” he said.
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First Published: Wed, Apr 01 2009. 10 55 AM IST