Tags: china | official | afghanistan

China Top Security Official Makes Surprise Visit to Afghanistan

Sunday, 23 Sep 2012 08:09 AM

China’s top security official made a “surprise” four-hour visit to Afghanistan yesterday, the first time a member of China’s highest ruling body has been there since 1966, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Zhou Yongkang, one of the nine members in the Standing Committee of the Politburo, met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Xinhua reported. The news agency didn’t provide details about the discussions.

Xinhua said Zhou’s visit to Afghanistan wasn’t made public in advance “due to security concerns.” In a written statement, Zhou, who is in charge of China’s police and judicial systems, 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,” Xinhua reported.

Zhou’s visit comes at a time when U.S.-led coalition forces are pulling out of Afghanistan. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Sept. 21 in New Zealand that the U.S. has withdrawn the last of 33,000 so-called “surge” troops from the country.

China has no military involvement in Afghanistan, although it has resources and energy investments there. China National Petroleum Corp. won an auction in 2011 to develop three blocks in the Amu Darya basin that are estimated to hold 80 million barrels of oil. China shares a 76-kilometer (47-mile) border with Afghanistan, according to U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook.

Strategic Partnership

Metallurgical Corp. of China and Jiangxi Copper Co., both state-owned companies, won the rights in 2008 to develop the Aynak copper mine in Afghanistan. The production date of the mine has been repeatedly delayed, partly due to a relic site that was found at the mine. Jiangxi Copper Chairman Li Yihuang said in March that the mine may start operating in 2014-2016.

No Chinese leader had visited Afghanistan since former President Liu Shaoqi in 1966. According to China’s Foreign Ministry, China pulled out all its diplomats from Afghanistan in 1993, and re-opened its embassy in Kabul in 2002 after the Taliban regime was toppled by the NATO-led force. At a meeting between Chinese President Hu Jintao and Karzai in Beijing in June, the two countries decided to develop “a strategic and cooperative partnership,” according to Xinhua.


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China s top security official made a surprise four-hour visit to Afghanistan yesterday, the first time a member of China s highest ruling body has been there since 1966, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.Zhou Yongkang, one of the nine members in the Standing...
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2012-09-23
Sunday, 23 Sep 2012 08:09 AM
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