ASTANA, June 8 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Afghan counterpart, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, pledged on Thursday to boost bilateral cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative.
The two heads of state made the remarks during their meeting in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan. Xi arrived here Wednesday evening for a state visit to Kazakhstan and the 17th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
Hailing the good momentum of bilateral ties, Xi said that high-level interaction should play an important role in guiding China-Afghanistan relations and that exchanges on all levels should be intensified.
Xi voiced the hope that the two sides will actively implement their memorandum of understanding on jointly promoting the B&R construction and other related deals, deepen bilateral practical cooperation, and carry out connectivity projects between them.
Xi proposed the building of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road in Kazakhstan and Indonesia, respectively, in 2013, which later evolved into the B&R Initiative.
The Chinese president also called for closer cooperation on security and anti-terrorism, saying that China supports Afghanistan’s efforts to maintain domestic security and will continue helping the Afghan side to improve relevant capabilities.
Xi reaffirmed that China firmly adheres to an Afghanistan-friendly policy and will play a constructive role in Afghanistan’s process of peaceful reconciliation and reconstruction.
China supports Afghanistan’s push to play a bigger role in promoting regional economic integration and interconnectivity, Xi added.
For his part, Ghani said Afghanistan cherishes the friendship with China, and is grateful for China’s help in its peaceful reconstruction and reconciliation process.
The Afghan president said his country values China’s important role in international and regional affairs, and is committed to closer economic, trade and security cooperation.
Afghanistan is highly appreciative of the B&R Initiative and looks forward to aligning its own development with the B&R construction, Ghani said, adding that his country will actively participate in cooperation on transport connectivity.