China's president pledged "selfless help" to Afghanistan on Friday, as the leaders of the two countries agreed to upgrade their trade, aid, investment and security relations.
At a meeting in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, President Hu Jintao told Afghan President Hamid Karzai that China would continue to provide help to Afghanistan as it enters "a critical transition period."
"At present Afghanistan has entered into a critical transition period," Hu noted. "China is a trustworthy neighbor and friend of Afghanistan. Both now and in the future, China will continue to stay firmly committed to our policy of developing friendly relations with Afghanistan and will continue to provide sincere and selfless help to the Afghanistan side."
China is positioning itself for a bigger role in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of most U.S. and other international troops at the end of 2014.
The two leaders signed a strategic partnership agreement, under which China said it would encourage Chinese investment, help build infrastructure, grant scholarships to Afghan students and provide $24 million in aid this year. And, President Karzai thanked President Hu for his hospitality.
"Thank you Mr. President, as always for your tremendously warm and friendly hospitality," Karzai said.
In a joint statement issued after the meeting, the two sides rejected terrorism, extremism, separatism and organized crime.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.