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Top Chinese security official visits Kabul

Posted on Sep 23, 04:40PM | IANS

A top Chinese security official met President Hamid Karzai Saturday during a brief surprise visit, the first by a senior Chinese leader in nearly half a century, to Afghanistan, Xinhua reported Sunday.

Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, arrived at Kabul airport late in the afternoon. The four-hour visit had not been announced by Beijing due to security concerns.

In Kabul, Zhou, who is in charge of security and justice affairs, met the Afghanistan president and discussed cooperation between the two countries.

"It is in line with the fundamental interests of the two peoples for China and Afghanistan to strengthen a strategic and cooperative partnership, which is also conducive to regional peace, stability and development," Zhou was quoted as saying in a statement released by the Chinese delegation upon his arrival.

Zhou 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.

Prior to Zhou's visit, the last visit to Afghanistan had been undertaken by late Chinese leader Liu Shaoqi in 1966 as the president of the country.