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Chinese, Afghan Presidents Meet in Beijing


Afghanistan's president is in China for talks aimed at strengthening political and economic ties between the two neighbors.

Chinese President Hu Jintao met Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Beijing Wednesday, during a visit expected to focus on stability, security and investment opportunities.

One highlight of Mr. Karzai's agenda is getting China's support to help quell the continuing violence in his country. Beijing is especially concerned about the hard-line Muslim insurgency in Afghanistan because of its allegations that separatists from China's far western Xinjiang region have received training and shelter there.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said this week his country feels a peaceful and stable Afghanistan would be a good neighbor.

Qin says China understands the challenges Afghanistan faces with peaceful reconstruction and will always take an active part in helping to bring peace to the war-torn country. He also says China will provide as much assistance as it can.

The Afghan embassy in Beijing says in recent years China has provided $180 million in reconstruction assistance.

China and Afghanistan also are expanding economic ties.

Spokesman Qin said deals would be signed, but he gave few details.

Qin says during President Karzai's visit, the two sides will exchange views on deepening mutual trust and expanding trade and economic cooperation.

One of the biggest deals involves a Chinese company's pledge to spend more than $3 billion to develop one of the world's largest unexploited copper reserves at the Aynak mine, south of Kabul. The project has dragged on, however, because of continuing Taliban violence.

On Thursday, President Karzai gives a speech to students at Peking University. He also meets with Premier Wen Jiabao and Wu Bangguo, the chairman of China's legislature, before leaving China late Thursday.

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