Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Shanghai, east China, May 19, 2014. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)
SHANGHAI, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Shanghai on Monday, vowing to back Afghanistan's efforts to maintain national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Karzai is in China to attend the fourth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia slated for Tuesday and Wednesday in Shanghai.
Reiterating China's friendly policies toward Afghanistan, Xi told Karzai China remains a reliable friend of the country despite changes in the international and regional situation.
"We are ready to maintain high-level exchanges with Afghanistan, step up cooperation in various areas and offer aid to the country's reconstruction of peace," Xi said.
He vowed joint efforts with Afghanistan to facilitate the construction of a Silk Road economic belt, adding China supports its companies to invest in Afghanistan.
Xi urged the Afghan government to take effective measures to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens and organizations in the country.
He vowed to enhance cooperation with Afghanistan in preventing and fighting the "three evil forces" of separatism, extremism and terrorism.
"China hopes to see a unified, stable, developing and friendly Afghanistan," Xi said, vowing China's constructive role in backing the country's efforts to maintain national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and supporting an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned national reconciliation process.
"We respect the Afghan people's choice, and hope the ongoing presidential elections will be a new starting point for the country's peaceful transition, solidarity and stability," Xi said.
The Fourth Foreign Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan is slated for August in China's Tianjin Municipality, the first to be held in China.
Xi said China hopes to carry out close cooperation with Afghanistan and the international community to ensure the success of the meeting.
The Chinese president also vowed to promote a greater role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on the issue of Afghanistan.
Xi praised the important contribution Karzai has made in promoting bilateral ties, and welcomed him to pay more visits to China and continue his positive role in facilitating Sino-Afghan relations.
Karzai hailed the brotherhood of both countries and called China a reliable neighbor. Afghanistan appreciates China's valuable support for the country's peaceful reconstruction, he said.
Afghanistan is committed to developing close good-neighborly ties with China no matter which candidate wins the election, Karzai said.
He said he expects China's continued help for stability, reconciliation and development in Afghanistan, as well as for training Afghan personnel in various fields.
Afghanistan is willing to make joint efforts with China to combat terrorism and transnational crimes, he added.
Xi expressed condolences and sympathy to Karzai over the fatal landslide earlier this month that brought huge casualties to the country.
Xi vowed to offer additional assistance for reconstruction.
Earlier the Chinese government announced it will offer 10 million yuan (1.62 million U.S. dollars) in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.