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Xinjiang Entrepreneurs Eye Rebuilding in Afghanistan

Xinhua, 11 March 2002

BEIJING, March 11 (Xinhua) -- The peace process and reconstruction in Afghanistan have become one of the major concerns of entrepreneurs in Kashi of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region which neighbors Afghanistan.

Many expressed hope to give a full play to the abundant materials and advantages of Kashi's construction industry in participating in Afghanistan's reconstruction, said a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC).

Yao Yongfeng, who is here attending the on-going annual session of the Ninth NPC, said entrepreneurs in Xinjiang are able to take part in the rebuilding, especial in infrastructure construction, in Afghanistan, and provide materials that are urgently needed in that country.

Yao, secretary of the Kashi Prefecture Committee of the Communist Party of China, said that Kashi shares a 92-kilometer- long border line with Afghanistan, and the local people have always maintained a friendly relationship with the people of Afghanistan.

Although the border area between Kashi and Afghanistan are mainly mountains with an elevation of 4,000 meters and above, materials can be quickly transported from Kashi to Afghanistan through the highway between China and Pakistan.

At present, Yao said, many enterprises in Kashi are following closely the reconstruction process in Afghanistan and are ready to get involved at any time.

China and Afghanistan enjoy friendly relations. In January Chairman Hamid Karzai of the Afghan interim government visited China. Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, who accompanied Karzai in the visit, said in Beijing that China has made great achievements in economic development and will play a very important role in the rebuilding of Afghanistan. Afghanistan needs many Chinese products and technologies in the fields of medical treatment, highway construction, telecommunications and mine sweeping.

It is estimated that Afghanistan needs at least 15 billion U.S. dollars for its reconstruction in the next 10 years.

China has decided to provide one million U.S. dollars in cash as start-up fund for the reconstruction effort of the Afghan interim government, and promised to offer another 150 million U.S. dollars in aid.