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Top Chinese Security Official Makes Surprise Visit to Afghanistan

Sunday 23 September 2012

KABUL (Xinhua) – Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, arrived at Kabul airport late in Saturday afternoon. The top Chinese security official made a surprise visit to Afghanistan, the first one by a Chinese leader in nearly half a century.

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Zhou Yongkang, second left, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, is welcomed by Afghan Commerce and Industry Minister Anwar Ul-haq Ahady (انورالحق احدی) upon his arrival in Kabul for an official goodwill visit on Sept 22, 2012.
Ahady who served as the Afghanistan’s Finance Minister, is currently serving as the Minister of Transportation and Commerce.
(Photo: Xinhua)

The four-hour visit had not been announced by Beijing due to security concerns. It followed a two-day trip of Zhou to Singapore, where he met Singaporean leaders on bilateral ties. Zhou, who is in charge of security and justice affairs, had planned to go to Turkmenistan.

It marked the first time in 46 years that a Chinese leader set his foot on the soil of Afghanistan, a war-torn country neighbouring China. The last visit was made by Liu Shaoqi in 1966 when he was the President of China.

Afghanistan stays in the front line of the US-led war against terrorism and undergoing daily bombing and bleeding.

China and Afghanistan established diplomatic relations in 1955. The two countries decided in June to upgrade their ties to the level of a strategic and cooperative partnership at a meeting between Chinese President Hu Jintao and Karzai in Beijing, marking a new step for the development of bilateral relations. In Kabul, Zhou held a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

“It is in line with the fundamental interests of the two peoples for China and Afghanistan to strengthen a strategic and cooperative partnership, which is also conducive to regional peace, stability and development,” Zhou was quoted as saying in a written statement released by the Chinese delegation upon his arrival. Zhou said the Chinese government fully respects the right of the Afghan people to choose their own path of development and will actively participate in Afghanistan’s reconstruction.

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