The recently released data shows Iran’s crude oil exports to China soared to the second highest level in December 2012, despite US-led sanctions against the Islamic Republic’s energy sector.
According to a Reuters report China imported nearly 593,390 barrels per day (bpd) of crude from Iran in December last year, up 3.6 per cent from the preceding year and up 39 per cent from November. For the full year 2012, the highest level of China’s crude imports from Iran stood at 633,000 bpd.
Industry officials in China attributed the enhancement in Iran’s crude oil exports to improvement in shipment. The problems that used to cause delays have been overcome recently. The period of delay has become shorter and overall, less frequent.
Iran is currently China’s third largest supplier of crude, providing Beijing with roughly 12 percent of its total annual oil consumption.
At the beginning of 2012, the United States and the European Union had imposed new sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors with the goal of preventing other countries from purchasing Iranian oil and conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran.
On October 15, 2012, the EU foreign ministers reached an agreement on another round of sanctions against Iran.
Iran terms these impositions illegal and insists that US-engineered sanctions were imposed based on the unfounded accusation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
According to another news report China will soon start importing polyethylene made in Iran, which became possible after the Islamic Republic partially lifted a ban on the export of petrochemicals late last year.
Lately, China-based market sources said that an estimated 100,000-150,000 metric tons of high density polyethylene (HDPE) and low density polyethylene (LDPE) from Iran is expected to arrive in China within a month aboard five vessels. The sources added that the Iranian tanker Touska will shortly discharge HDPE and LDPE at Shanghai port.
On November 6, 2012, Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Abdolhossein Bayat announced that the Oil Ministry had lifted the ban on the export of seven petrochemicals; benzene, styrene monomer, caustic soda, linear alkyl benzene (LAB), melamine crystal, premature ventricular contraction (PVC), and polyethylene.
- US probes Swiss medicine giant for trade with Iran (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israel may rely on US ‘scalpels’ to contain Iran – defense minister (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- US exempts 9 countries from sanctions on Iranian oil industry (alethonews.wordpress.com)
BEIJING – China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) has signed two production sharing contracts with Chevron China Energy Company for two blocks in the South China Sea, a statement said.
CNOOC Limited, a subsidiary of CNOOC — the country’s largest offshore oil and gas producer, said in the online statement late Wednesday that the two blocks, Block 15/10 and Block 15/28, are located in the Pearl River Mouth Basin in the east part of the South China Sea.
According to the terms of the contracts, Chevron will conduct 3D seismic data surveys in the two blocks during the exploration period, in which all expenditures incurred will be borne by Chevron.
CNOOC is allowed to take up to 51 percent of interest in any commercial discoveries in the blocks, the statement said.
“We are very pleased to become a partner with Chevron again and hope this project achieves commercial discoveries soon to create economic returns for both companies,” said Zhu Weilin, executive vice president of CNOOC Limited.
- CNOOC signs Sunshine Oil Sands deal (business.financialpost.com)
Russia and China, which share many of the same international concerns, are looking to fortify their strategic partnership.
At a time when the neighboring countries are beginning to feel the heat of the US military, it seems only natural that Moscow and Beijing are beginning to plant the seeds of a long-term strategic relationship.
Xi Jinping, the secretary-general of the Chinese Communist Party, underlined his country’s commitment to a Russian partnership when he noted that he and President Vladimir Putin “came to the unanimous conclusion” that a “comprehensive strategic partnership” between Moscow and Beijing remains the “top priority of their foreign policy.”
The comments were made on Tuesday during a visit to Beijing by Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev, who is participating in the eighth round of Russian-Chinese consultations on strategic security.
Xi Jingping, 59, who was sworn as the highest-ranking Communist official in November, echoed the sentiments of the Russian president, who noted at his recent Q&A session with international media that Russo-Chinese relations “have become one of the most important factors in the (realm of) international affairs.”
Given the geopolitical realities of the region, it should come as no surprise that Moscow and Beijing are looking to forge a strategic partnership.
Whereas China, traditionally an isolationist country that shuns bilateral alliances, rarely reveals its political hand, Russia made a leap of faith when it attempted to forge a so-called reset in relations with Washington. Today, the reset is in shambles, while many in Moscow accuse Washington of allowing the partnership to deteriorate.
Indeed, much of the blame for the Russia-US fallout is due to Washington’s plans to place a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, just miles from the Russian border. NATO, originally declaring its intention to cooperate with Russia on the project, remains intransigent, while even refusing to provide Moscow with a legal guarantee that the system will never be aimed at Russian territory.
Moscow rightly warned its Western partners that without Russia’s participation in the system the strategic balance would be upset and there would be another arms race. Still, US and NATO officials have been reluctant to bring Russia on board, and this refusal has played havoc with Moscow’s and Washington’s efforts to nurture a reset between the former Cold War enemies.
In fact, given the current stalemate, the reset itself seems to have been merely a ploy to win Russia’s trust at the same time that a threatening military technology was being introduced courtesy of the Obama administration.
Meanwhile, China, which recently celebrated the launch of its first aircraft carrier (the US Navy already has six carriers assigned to the Pacific), is witnessing a growing US naval presence in the Pacific.
The US military brass announced in June that up to 60 per cent of the Navy’s fleet will be deployed to the Pacific by 2020.
At the same time, Moscow and Beijing hold similar positions on a variety of other international issues, including the situation in Syria, where militants are attempting to force President Bashar Assad from power. Russian and Chinese diplomats have called for a general ceasefire followed by negotiations, whereas the United States has thrown its weight behind the opposition.
“Moscow and Beijing both hold similar positions on the global hotspots, including in Syria, North Korea, Afghanistan and Iran,” Evgeny Bazhanov, president of the Diplomatic Academy of Russia’s Foreign Ministry, told RT in an earlier interview. “They are also both deeply suspicious of the US missile defense system.”
Finally, the China-Russia relationship is motivated by other factors aside from their increasing wariness of American geopolitical intentions.
For example, considering China’s exploding economy, Beijing requires a reliable flow of oil and gas. Russia, meanwhile, welcomes the opportunity to diversify its ample supply of natural resources.
Interstate consultations on strategic issues between Russia and China were launched in 2005.
There’s got to be some symbolism—if not irony–in the fact that just as the last of the 33,000 troops surged by Obama two years ago supposedly to pacify Afghanistan pulled out, the highest ranking Chinese official to visit Afghanistan in almost half a century pulled in—arriving in Kabul for a secret round of meetings with top Afghan officials.
Question: How will China deal with the country that proved such an expensive and bloody disaster for both the U.S., its NATO allies–and the U.S.S.R before them?
In a brief visit, unreported until he had left Kabul, Zhou Younkang, China’s chief of domestic security, met with Afghani leaders, including President Hamid Karzai. They talked about drugs, international crime, terrorism, and developing Afghanistan’s huge natural resources—just as visiting Americans have done for years.
The result, a cluster of agreements, among them an announcement that 300 Afghan police officers will be sent to China for training over the next four years.
Which is another irony of sorts—coming at the same time as news that the U.S. and its allies have been obliged to scale back joint operations with the Afghan military and police, because they can no longer trust the men they’ve trained. American troops in the field with their Afghan allies now keep weapons ready and wear body armor even when they’re eating goat meat and yoghurt.
So far this year 51 American and NATO troops have been gunned down by Afghan military or police: a startling 20% of all NATO casualties this year.
The off-the-wall video from California ridiculing the prophet Mohammed has only further fueled anti-American hatred.
As the New York Times quoted one 20 year old Afghan soldier, NATO casualties could even be higher.
“We would have killed many of them already,” he said, “but our commanders are cowards and don’t let us.”
There are still some 68,000 American troops based in Afghanistan, but the plans are for them all to be out by the end of 2014. Which means that China will be confronting serious security problems of its own in Afghanistan. They already have direct investments of more than $200 million in copper mining and oil exploration, and have promised to build a major railroad east to Pakistan or north to Turkestan.
But they could pour in billions more if Afghanistan were a secure, well-ordered country, free from the Taliban, free from kleptocratic war lords and venal government bureaucrats, patrolled by well-trained Afghan soldiers and police: in other words, exactly the kind of country the U.S. would like to have left behind—and didn’t.
Instead, of course, despite America’s huge sacrifice in men and treasure –more than half a trillion dollars since 2001–things haven’t worked out that way. [For a dramatic, running count of the enormous hemorrhage that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan still represent to the U.S. economy check out costofwar.com.]
Meanwhile, corruption is rampant, and it’s by no means certain that Afghanistan has—or ever will have–a national army and police force worthy of the name.
The U.S. Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, peered into the Pentagon’ s 1.1 billion dollars fuel program to supply the Afghan Army, and concluded that there was no way to be ascertain how much if any of that fuel is really being used by Afghan security forces for their missions. There was also no way to know how much was stolen, lost or diverted to the Taliban and other insurgent groups. Almost half a billion dollars worth of receipts detailing with fuel payments over the past four years have been shredded.
With the Americans heading for the exits, the challenge facing the Chinese—and anyone else, like India–interested in investing in the country–is how to navigate this imbroglio.
Indeed, the Chinese have apparently already run into problems in Afghanistan. Work at the Mes Aynak copper mine in Logar Province is already behind schedule, and no work has begun on the promised Chinese-built railroad yet. Various impediments have turned up, like recalcitrant bureaucrats, tensions provoked by the need to displace local populations, the discovery of Buddhist ruins, as well as ramshackle Soviet-era mines that first had to be cleared.
And then there’s the rival, rapacious warlords, who see the country’s resources as a way of fueling their own ambitions—like General Abdul Rashid Dotsum, who the government has accused of attempting to extort illegal payoffs from the Chinese oil company.
However, in their dealings throughout the developing world, from despots to democracies, the Chinese have shown themselves adept at navigating such quagmires. There’s no talk from Beijing of Chinese “exceptionalism”. They’ve been taking on the world as it is—not as someone in a Chinese think tank would want to remake it.
They’ve generally turned a blind eye to considerations of human rights, opted to pay off or work with the powers that be, and used offers of huge new infrastructure projects as bait, steadily increasing their share of the globe’s resources.
Many potential investors still shy away from Afghanistan. They have no idea what lies on the other side of the political abyss after 2014 when the U.S. completes its withdrawal.
China is also wary, but they’re also seriously planning their Afghan strategy for the post-American future.
As Wang Lian, a professor with the School of International Studies at the Paking University in Beijing, put it, ”Almost every great power in history, when they were rising, was deeply involved in Afghanistan, and China will not be an exception.”
Unmentioned, of course, was what an unmitigated disaster that involvement turned out to be for the USSR, the US–and Afghanistan.
We’ll see how China fares.
- Did Afghanistan’s Surge Fail? (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)
- Is the Afghan Surge Really Over? (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Afghanistan surge achieved its mission, Dempsey says (nation.com.pk)
The National Bank of Egypt said that the US$200 million loan recently granted by the China Development Bank will arrive in the country within days.
The interest rate due on the loan is up to 3.75 percent above Libor rates, which is the central lending price of British banks for a pay period of eight years, including a three-year grace period.
Sharif Elwi, vice-president of the National Bank, said that the loan marks the beginning of Egyptian cooperation with Asian markets in light of worsening economic conditions in Europe.
China has allocated $20 billion to finance projects in Africa, and the National Bank began loan talks with the China Development Bank five months ago, Elwi explained. He denied that the government had pressured the National Bank to broker the deal due to Egypt’s declining international credit rating.
National Bank leaders plan to visit Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Malaysia this October to present investment opportunities in Egypt to potential backers there.
- African central banks invest in offshore Chinese bonds (ghanabusinessnews.com)
- Xi hopes Morsi visit boosts bilateral ties (todayonline.com)
- There is no clarity over $3b China loan to Ghana (ghanabusinessnews.com)
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping said the visit Egypt’s leader to Beijing “will increase mutual understanding and trust” between the two countries, local media reported on Wednesday.
Xi’s remarks came during a meeting with Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi, who arrived in China on Tuesday for a three-day state visit.
Mursi held talks with his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, on Tuesday.
Mursi’s visit to China, a rising global power, comes ahead of a scheduled visit to the United States, the key ally of former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.
The Egyptian leader is said to have put Chinese investments high on the agenda of the talks, as a means to inject much needed cash into Egypt’s ailing economy, as well as lessen Cairo’s dependence on US aid.
Mursi reportedly suggested increasing Egypt-China flights from two per week to ten, and requested that China build a high speed train route between Cairo and Alexandria.
According to Xinhua, Mursi called Egypt-China ties “strategic” in the meeting and commended the traditional friendship.
He described his talks with Hu as being “of significance for consolidating Egyptian-Chinese strategic relations.”
“I, along with the delegation of ministers, officials and investors, convey to you and all Chinese leaders and your people all respect and appreciation for your civilization and your pioneer experience in the modern age,” Mursi said.
Chinese news agency Xinhua reported Xi as affirming the visit “would inject new impetus into bilateral relations and will open a new chapter in the friendship between Egypt and China.”
Xi said that the development of Sino-Egyptian relations is due to both being developing countries that “share common goals of maintaining state sovereignty and social stability.”
He cited other common interests as “the promotion of peace and stability in the region and all over the world.”
In an interview last Monday with Reuters news agency, Mursi stated he will seek solutions to the Syrian issue with Chinese leaders. China, along with Iran and Russia, is one of the prominent supporters of Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.
Following his visit to China, President Mursi will make a quick visit to the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Thursday where he will formally hand over chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement to Iran’s President Ahmadinejad.
(Xinhua, UPI, Al-Akhbar)
- Egyptian president heads to China for investment talks (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Egyptian Minister Asks for Direct Flights between Tehran, Cairo (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Mubarak era tycoons join Egypt President in China (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Several of the businessmen who travelled with Morsi to China were prominent supporters of Mubarak and former members of the NDP
A delegation of Egyptian businessmen who travelled to China on Monday, one day before the visit of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, was made up of many figures who were close to the former regime of Hosni Mubarak, and who were members of Mubarak’s now-dissolved National Democratic Party (NDP).
In his first state visit outside of the Arab world, Egypt’s president headed a delegation of seven ministers and 80 businessmen to China.
One the most prominent NDP figures who was invited to accompany the new president was Mohamed Farid Khamis, chairman of the Oriental Weavers Company, one of the world’s largest carpet companies. Khamis was member of the political bureau of the NDP and a member of parliament.
Another prominent name is Sherif El-Gabaly, chairman of Polyserve Fertilisers and Chemical Group, and a member of the administration of the Egyptian Federation of Industries, who was also a member of the political bureau and was known to be close to Gamal Mubarak, son of the former president.
Other members of the NDP present in the delegation included Khaled Abul-Makarem chairman of Fibertex, Walid Hela vice president of heavyweight plastic producers Al-Helal wel Negma and Farid El-Tobgui chairman of Bavarian group.
Hassan Malek, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and a well-known businessman, heads the delegation and is responsible for the choice of members. Malek, president of a committee for communication between businessmen and the presidency, told Ikhwan Online, the official website of the Muslim Brotherhood, that the group was comprised of businessmen who had existing business ties with China.
The delegation also included some businessmen who have close ties with the Brotherhood, such as Ahmed El-Sewedy, chairman of El-Sewedy Electrics and Abdel-Rahman Samir El-Naggar, chairman of Daltex Food Industries.
- Egyptian president heads to China for investment talks (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Chinese investment, including in industrial and technological projects, is the primary focus of Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi’s visit to Beijing starting Tuesday, state media and officials said.
Mursi leaves for China late Monday on his first visit outside the Arab world since becoming president in June. He will then head to Tehran for the Non-Aligned Movement summit on Thursday.
The visit aims to “attract Chinese investment in Egypt,” presidential spokesman Yasser Ali said.
Cairo and Beijing are to sign agreements for seven major projects, including a power station in Upper Egypt, a desalination plant, industrial bakeries and Internet development, according to assistant planning minister Nabil Abdel Hamid.
Egypt will also propose development of a high-speed train line between Cairo and Alexandria, Hamid told state daily Al-Ahram.
Coinciding with Mursi’s visit, a joint business forum will be held in Beijing attended by some 80 Egyptian business leaders, the investment ministry announced.
Egypt’s imports from China in 2011 reached $7.5 billion, versus exports valued at $1.5 billion, as trade between the two countries rose to a total of $9 billion, according to official figures.
Ousted former president Hosni Mubarak had already made trade with China a priority, as volume rose from $610 million in 1998 to $6.2 billion 10 years later.
Egypt hosted the 2009 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, or FOCAC, in its resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, where China pledged $10 billion in concessional loans and enhanced trade to African states.
Mursi faces tough economic challenges in the wake of the uprising which forced Mubarak from power last year, and severely affected foreign investment.
On his way back from China, the Islamist president will attend the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran on Thursday, when he will pass the movement’s presidency from Egypt to Iran.
It will be the first visit by an Egyptian head of state since the two countries severed diplomatic relations more than 30 years ago, although Mursi downplayed the issue of possible resumption of diplomatic relations.
Iran cut ties with Egypt in 1980 after the Islamic revolution in protest against the 1979 peace accords between Egypt and Israel.
- Egypt requests $4.8bn IMF loan (alethonews.wordpress.com)
According to Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Buthaina Shaaban, special envoy for and political and media advisor of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has been invited to Beijing Tuesday. The ministry also stated that it will invite members of the Syrian opposition to come to Beijing on a later date.
These moves are widely believed to be aimed at persuading the Syrian sides to get back to the negotiation table and solve their differences through a political solution. But such hopes suffered a heavy blow after UN Special Envoy Kofi Annan quit his job earlier this month. This has prompted observers to question the effectiveness of China’s mediation efforts.
China’s influence in the Middle East is certainly weaker than other major world powers like the US and Russia. It’s natural that there are doubts on what China can achieve through its talks with the Assad regime and the Syrian opposition. China’s efforts will not bear fruits instantly after just one round of talks.
However, China will keep trying. Solving the Syrian crisis through a political solution has always been China’s position. It will work to explore every possibility, however thin.
Though Annan has left the special envoy post, the UN hasn’t halted its mission. It has been actively seeking a replacement for Annan. The leaders of some Western countries, like French President François Hollande, have also agreed to solve the Syrian crisis through talk rather than war.
For China, a major supporter of the UN mission, its mediation efforts this time are intended to send a bold signal to the international community that the possibility of a political solution is still on the table, and that China is determined to continuously work with the UN to broker such a deal in Syria.
The US and some Western and Gulf countries are now exploring the option of imposing a no-fly zone in Syria, which, as witnessed in Libya, is an important step to enable foreign military intervention. China will need this mediation opportunity to counter that idea and to give undecided countries second thoughts on which approach is more feasible.
There are several issues that will pose serious challenges to efforts to broker a political solution.
First, making a political solution effective will require the cooperation of all parties in Syria. But at this stage, the will to get back to the negotiation table is weak on both sides. They have been pouring more efforts onto the battlefield than in setting up talks, because both believe that victory is within reach. The longer they are at war, the harder it will be for them to talk.
Second, the largely divided opposition makes it difficult for China or the UN to carry out effective mediation work. For instance, there is confusion in China as to which opposition group the Chinese government should make contact with.
While the Syrian National Council, based mainly outside Syria, is widely perceived as a representative of the rebel movement, does it truly have authority over groups and factions that have been operating inside Syria like the Free Syrian Army? Should China’s mediation also include representatives from other opposition groups?
While China is making its efforts, some countries are paving the way for military intervention, including supplying arms. The more weapons the opposition receives, the more confident they grow of an ultimate military triumph.
The opposition will increasingly prefer war over talks, but Assad won’t easily surrender either. This will eventually deadlock both sides in a cycle of conflict, blocking the way to a peaceful solution and risking more people’s lives.
Due to China’s lack of influence and channels to present its argument in full, its struggle to stop bloodshed in Syria has been constantly misinterpreted by some countries that are willing to throw Assad out at any cost and have been actively promoting their stance to the international community.
This will not only undermine China’s effort but even leave China isolated. Chinese policymakers should learn from this, and try to win understanding and support to its stance on Syria through various international platforms.
For instance, China can put forward this issue at developing country-orientated platforms like the Non-Aligned Movement or BRICS.
Most developing countries these days know that political reforms are a much better option than revolution induced by foreign intervention. China’s stance will win support there relatively easily.
By gathering such supports, China will not only find itself better positioned when confronted by similar issues, but also draw more nations to defend the UN principles from being violated by a few super powers.
This article was compiled by Global Times reporter Gao Lei based on an interview with He Wenping, director of the African Studies at the Institute of West Asian and African Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. firstname.lastname@example.org
Foreign subsidiaries of Pfizer spent years bribing foreign doctors and healthcare officials to expand sales of the company’s pharmaceuticals, according to a $60 million settlement reached with the U.S. government.
The deal, brokered by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Department of Justice, resolves charges of illegal activities that took place in about a dozen countries, including China, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kazakhstan, and Russia.
“Pfizer subsidiaries in several countries had bribery so entwined in their sales culture that they offered points and bonus programs to improperly reward foreign officials who proved to be their best customers,” Kara Brockmeyer, an SEC official, said in a news release. “These charges illustrate the pitfalls that exist for companies that fail to appropriately monitor potential risks in their global operations.”
In China, a subsidiary awarded doctors with points for every Pfizer prescription they wrote, allowing them to redeem the points for medical books, cell phones, and other gifts. In some cases, Pfizer’s China operation bribed physicians with free trips abroad.
Pfizer officials in the U.S. reportedly learned of the bribes in 2004 and began in internal investigation that kept federal regulators in the loop on what they discovered. The company insisted its executives knew nothing about the schemes before then.
- Pfizer Admits Bribery in Eight Countries (corpwatch.org)
Beijing reacted furiously Wednesday to new US sanctions imposed on a Chinese bank over transactions with Iran, urging Washington to revoke them and saying it would lodge an official protest.China, US flags
China’s Foreign Ministry urged the United States to lift the sanctions on the Bank of Kunlun and stop “damaging China’s interests and Sino-US relations.”
US President Barack Obama on Tuesday imposed new economic sanctions on Iran’s oil export sector and on a pair of Chinese and Iraqi banks accused of doing business with Tehran.
Obama said the new measures underlined the United States’ determination to force Tehran “to meet its international obligations” in nuclear negotiations, according to a statement released by the White House.
The US president accused the Bank of Kunlun and the Elaf Islamic Bank in Iraq of arranging transactions worth millions of dollars with Iranian banks already under sanctions because of alleged links to Tehran’s weapons program.
In a brief statement, China’s foreign ministry expressed “strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition” to the US move and said it would officially protest the decision.
“China has regular relations with Iran in the energy and trade fields, which have no connection with Iran’s nuclear plans,” the statement said.
- US Congress OKs new Iran sanctions (english.ruvr.ru)
China and Afghanistan agreed a deal on Friday to reinforce military cooperation between the two countries.
Beijing said it would continue to support Kabul both militarily and through aid out of respect for its sovereignty and independence.
Chinese News Agency Xinhua reported that Guo Boxyong, the vice president of the Central Military Commission for the Communist Party of China, held a meeting on Friday with Afghan defense minister Abdul Rahim Wardak in Beijing.
After the meeting Guo called for the strengthening of both countries’ armies, their strategic relations, and an active reinforcement of cooperation between the two nations.
Guo said, “both countries have seen remarkable results in cooperation in recent years,” adding that that military relations have been continuously increased.
The Chinese official commended Afghanistan for its support to China on issues related to its core interests, adding that Beijing constantly supported and actively participated in the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
China invited the national community to respect the will of the Afghan people. He declared China’s continued assistance to the country on the basis of respect, its independence, its sovereignty and its territorial integrity.
The Afghan minister thanked China for the aid given to his country, adding that maintaining healthy bilateral relations is conducive to protecting security and regional stability.
- Beijing, Kabul Sign Cooperation Pact (rferl.org)