Thursday, April 17, 2014

President Karzai Visits China

President Karzai arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for a three-day state visit, accompanied by a delegation of ministers and businessmen. Scheduled meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and top legislator Wu Bangguo focused on mutual economic interests. Three agreements were signed on Wednesday concerning economic cooperation, training programs and the granting of preferential tariffs for some Afghan exports to China.

The Presidents signed agreements on trade and economic cooperation aimed at boosting commerce and investment between the two neighbors. Trade between Afghanistan and China amounted to US$155 million in 2008 (according to Chinese figures).

Mr Karzai said that China played a “very important role in the stability of Afghanistan and the region.” Since 2002, when President Karzai made his first trip to China as head of the transitional government, China has provided $175 million in aid to Afghanistan. More recently, Beijing granted another $75 million.

Chinese President Hu Jintao congratulated Mr Karzai on his reelection during their meeting at the Great Hall of the People.  Both Presidents also condemned terrorism and Mr Hu said both countries should “actively strike at terrorism, separatism and religious extremism and organized cross-border crimes in an effort to maintain regional peace and stability.”

President Karzai will also deliver a speech at Peking University.