Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday called on China to increase its economic support towards his country's rebuilding efforts, in meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao. The two countries on Wednesday signed three documents on economic and technological co-operation, more favourable tariffs for Afghan exports and training programmes. But seeking greater Chinese investment in Afghanistan's development and regional security issues were top of the agenda during Mr. Karzai's talks with Mr. Hu, said officials.
China has begun to emerge as an increasingly important player in Afghanistan, giving the country substantial financial assistance and also helping in rebuilding its infrastructure. Since 2002, China has given more than $200 million in financial assistance. China is also looking to increase its investment in the country's mineral deposits.
In 2007, the State-owned China Metallurgical Group signed a record $3-billion deal to develop a copper mine at Aynak. Security issues are another focus of this week's talks. Chinese officials have expressed increasing concern over the safety of their investments, which have slowed in recent months. China is also worried about unrest spreading from Afghanistan into its borders. Afghanistan shares a border with China's restive Muslim-majority Xinjiang region.