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China puts weight behind extending China Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan

China puts weight behind extending China Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan
Chines top diplomat announces zero tariffs on Afghan imports, Beijing to begin issuing visas to Afghans

By Riyaz ul Khaliq

ISTANBUL (AA) - China has conveyed to the interim administration in Kabul that Beijing supports extending the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Friday.

“China hopes to push the alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with the development strategies of Afghanistan,” China’s top diplomat Wang Yi told Afghan interim Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

Wang also announced zero tariffs on 98% of Afghan imports and the resumption of the issuance of visas to Afghan citizens beginning early next month, according to a statement.

The two met in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit of foreign ministers. Afghanistan is a member of the SCO.

Wang said Beijing “supports the extension of the CPEC to Afghanistan, and share China's development opportunities.”

The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a multibillion dollar economic and infrastructural developmental arrangement between Pakistan and China under which Beijing has invested more than $25 billion in the South Asian nation since 2014.

After the complete withdrawal of US-led foreign forces from Afghanistan, Islamabad and Beijing appear to have agreed to extend the CPEC to Afghanistan where the Taliban has ruled since last August.

The Taliban administration has also insisted on stabilizing the war-torn country to become the transit between Central and South Asia.

Wang told Muttaqi that China “appreciates the Afghan interim government's unremitting efforts in overcoming the four challenges posed by the winter, earthquake, flood and sanctions, in reconstruction and recovery and the improvement of people's livelihood, and its steady progress toward the goal of lasting peace and stability.”

source: News Feed
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