China is the most reliable friend of Afghanistan, said Xu Feihong, Chinese ambassador to the war-torn country, just days before Afghan President Hamid Karzai's visit to China.
During his third ever visit to China, according to Xu, Karzai will attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit as a guest for the fifth time, after which he will meet with Chinese leaders and visit several Chinese cities and provinces such as Beijing and Hubei.
"SCO has always seen Afghanistan as an important partner in the region," noted the Chinese ambassador, "We have been engaging in close coordination with Afghanistan in areas like trade, culture and fighting terrorism, secessionism, extremism and narcotics."
As a significant platform for Afghanistan to enhance cooperation and dialogue with its neighbors, Xu added, SCO will furthre strengthen cooperation and coordination on Afghan-related issues, in an effort to improve Afghanistan's capability to deal with new challenges during transition and achieve peace, stalibility, independence and development in the long term.
In 1955, China and Afghanistan established diplomatic relations, which were upgraded to the Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership in 2006. The two countries have ever since kept frequent high- level exchanges and fruitful cooperation in terms of politics, economy, non-traditional security and cultural exchanges.
The development of China-Afghanistan relationship has rich historical background, pervasive public support and realistic significance, serving as a perfect example of mutual respect and support among developing countries, accordnig to the top Chinese diplomat in Afghanistan.
Xu spoke highly of Afghanistan's achievements in post-war reconstruction. "In the past ten years, under the leadership of Afghan government and support of the international community, the reconstruction has born fruitful results. Political and national reconciliation through peaceful negotiation has become a consensus among all parties." Afghanistan also has seen improvement in areas like security, economy, social welfare and human rights, he added.
The Chinese diplomat also called upon the international community to fulfill their promises in 2011 Bonn Conference and previous international conferences regarding Afghan issue, in a collective effort to build a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.
Over the past 10 years, China has been providing a considerable amount of aid to Afghanistan, building infrastructure, promoting mutual cooperation, training Afghan officials and professionals and offering scholarships to Afghan students, said Xu, and will in its own way continue to provide assistance to the Afghan security forces within its capacity, and help Afghanistan strengthen its security competence.
"China is the most reliable friend of Afghanistan," concluded Xu, "We will always stand side by side with Afghanistan and its people."